Two search warrants were executed today at properties in the North West as part of an ongoing investigation into nuisance calls related to data theft from car body repair shops.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) carried out the searches this morning at homes in Macclesfield and Droylsden.

They relate to an investigation into nuisance calls made to people to encourage them to make personal injury claims in relation to road traffic accidents.

The same investigation saw a business and two homes raided in December.

Mike Shaw, Enforcement Group Manager at the ICO, said:

“Many people get unsolicited calls suggesting they’ve had been involved in an accident, and wonder how the caller had their details. Calls can leave them feeling uneasy and frustrated.

“We’re working hard to crack down on the illegal trade of personal details that fuel this part of the nuisance call industry. In December we searched three properties as part of an investigation focused on the North West. That investigation has now progressed, enabling us to search two homes today in order to gather more evidence.”

The investigation, which is ongoing, was prompted by complaints from car body repair centres and the National Body Repair Association.

You can report nuisance calls, texts and emails via the ICO website.

 

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.
  3. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  4. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.
  5. 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;
    • secure; and
    • not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.
  1. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications. There are specific rules on:
    • marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
    • cookies (and similar technologies);
    • keeping communications services secure; and
    • customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.

We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.

  1. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
  2. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  3. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.