LegalRegulation

ICO Raids More Houses As Part Of Nuisance Call Crackdown

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Investigation into accident claims calls has been ongoing since May 2016

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has carried out a series of new raids on houses in the North West of the UK as part of an ongoing investigation into nuisance calls.

The investigation specifically relates to accident claims calls where people are encouraged to make personal injury claims about road traffic accidents, sourced by the theft of data from car repair centres.

The most recent set of raids took place last week in Gatley, Greater Manchester and Wilmslow, Cheshire, following previous searches in Macclesfield and Droylsden.

Row of leather law books on © ungureanusergiu - Fotolia

ICO raids

Computers and phones were seized during the searches, which will now be subject to forensic examination as the ICO continues its investigation which first started in May 2016.

Mike Shaw, ICO criminal investigations group manager, said: “This illegal trade has multiple negative effects – both on the car repair businesses targeted for their customer data and the subsequent nuisance calls made to customers. These can be extremely unsettling and distressing.

“Our searches this week are the latest step in us tracking down the unscrupulous individuals involved in this industry. These people won’t get away with it – any person or business involved in the theft and illegal trade of personal data may find themselves subject to ICO action.”

The ICO has come down hard on nuisance call organisations in recent times. In March it fined a Hampshire-based firm £270,000 for making 22 million nuisance calls, before slapping Keurboom Communications Ltd with a record-breaking £400,000 penalty for the same offence. 

And the ICO is not the only organisation attempting to tackle the issue, as Sky recently launched a free screening service called Sky Talk Shield to help users block unsolicited calls before their phone even rings.

But it has competition in the form of BT Protect, an opt-in network level blacklisting service that blocks sources of nuisance calls by redirecting them to a virtual voicemail box.

Quiz: Are you a privacy expert?