ICO carries out fresh raids in Manchester as fines soar

DataIQ News

The Information Commissioner’s Office is ramping up its assault on companies which use unlawful data to send unsolicited marketing text messages after carrying out yet another raid in the Greater Manchester area.

ICO enforcement officers executed search warrants at offices in Stockport and a house in Sale as part of an ICO investigation into companies believed to be responsible for sending over 11 million unsolicited text messages to UK mobile numbers between January 2017 and January 2018. As a result the ICO received 3,297 separate complaints.

The text messages mainly promoted financial management services such as pensions and loans and also claims management for issues such as PPI and flight cancellations. The recipients were unable to identify who the calls were from or opt out of them which is also against the law.

The move comes as a new analysis carried out by The SMS Works reveals that the ICO handed out a record number of fines to companies in January, with financial services firms accounting for almost half of them.

Nine separate companies were given penalties totalling £1.7m,  the highest figure ever for a single month, for email spam, SMS spam, nuisance calls and data protection breaches, the research reveals.

SMS Works director Henry Cazalet said: “The fines data should act as a wake-up call to all companies and organisations that process and handle consumer data. The clock is ticking on GDPR and companies that haven’t done so already, need to urgently address data security before the deadline.”