The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has searched two addresses as part of an investigation into businesses suspected of making live and automated nuisance calls.
Following a year-long investigation, two teams of ICO enforcement officers executed search warrants at offices in Brighton and Birmingham on Tuesday 12 March. The businesses are suspected of making millions of calls to UK landline and mobile numbers. The ICO has received nearly 600 complaints about the businesses.
The calls mainly concerned road traffic accidents, personal injury claims, and insurance for household goods. People who received the calls were unable to identify who the calls were from or opt out of them. This is against the law.
Enforcement officers seized computer equipment and documents for analysis. The ICO’s enquiries into the alleged breaches of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, the laws surrounding unsolicited telephone marketing, will continue.
Andy Curry, who heads up the anti nuisance call team at the ICO said:
“Today’s searches will fire a clear warning shot to business owners who operate outside the law by making nuisance marketing calls to people who have no wish to receive them.
“The evidence seized will help us identify any illegal business activities and assist us to take enforcement action, which may include action against the directors, on behalf of the victims who have turned to us for help.”
If you need more information, please contact the ICO press office on 0303 123 9070, or visit the media section on our website.
Notes to Editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
- The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
- 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.
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.
- The ICO has the power under PECR to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
- 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.
- Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
- To report a concern to the ICO, visit ico.org.uk/concerns.