An ICO spokesperson said:

“On 6 July 2018 the ICO announced it had imposed a fine of £60,000 on STS Commercial Ltd for allowing its lines to be used to send spam texts.

“STS Commercial Ltd appealed that penalty and upon considering the grounds of appeal, the ICO accepts that the appeal should be allowed and no monetary penalty should be imposed. The ICO apologises to STS Commercial Ltd.”

Additional information

  1. The ICO published a Monetary Penalty Notice (MPN) for STS Commercial Ltd on 6 July 2018 after an investigation found it was sending unsolicited marketing text messages promoting pay day loans.
  2. The notice was issued on the basis of evidence received by the ICO. STS Commercial Ltd appealed the notice to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights).
  3. After considering the grounds of appeal, the ICO carried out a further review with the telecoms provider responsible for the lines.
  4. Further information was uncovered through the appeal process which showed there were significantly fewer complaints than previously evidenced. As a result of this revised information, the ICO has withdrawn the fine.
  5. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  6. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the GDPR, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  7. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) 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.
  8. The ICO has the power to impose a civil monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000 for a breach of PECR.
  9. 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.
  10. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the ICO.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.