The ICO seized hundreds of SIM cards today, after raiding a SIM farm in offices in Wolverhampton.
Initial estimates suggest the equipment could have been used to send over 350,000 nuisance text messages, though the total may have been more than a million.
Computer equipment and paperwork were seized, and a residential address was also searched. The investigation continues.
Andy Curry, Enforcement Manager at the ICO, said:
“What we’ve seized today backs the intelligence we had that hundreds of thousands of nuisance messages were coming from this address. The rules on sending messages are clear, and if the evidence proves the law has been broken, we will issue a sizeable fine against those responsible.”
The raid was prompted by intelligence supported by reports using the ‘7726’ tool, that allows mobile phone users to report spam text messages by forwarding the messages to 7726 (spelling out SPAM).
Andy Curry added:
“This shows why reporting messages to us and your mobile network operator is so crucial. Without the reports we got through the 7726 system, we wouldn’t have been able to carry out this raid today.”
The raid follows an announcement by the ICO on Tuesday that a Yorkshire direct marketing firm and a Devon PPI claims company were told they face fines totalling £140,000 for breaching electronic marketing rules. The companies were linked to thousands of nuisance marketing calls and prompted over 1,200 reports to the ICO and the Telephone Preference Service.
Notes to Editors
1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
4. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:
- Fairly and lawfully processed
- Processed for limited purposes
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive
- Accurate and up to date
- Not kept for longer than is necessary
- Processed in line with your rights
- Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection
5. If you need more information, please contact the ICO press office on 0303 123 9070.