The fine is one of the biggest ever handed out by the ICO for nuisance calls
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has slapped Hampshire-Based Media Tactics with a £270,000 fine for making 22 million nuisance calls.
Automated marketing calls – which in this case were related to a variety of subjects including PPI, personal injury claims and debt management – can only be carried out if the recipient has specifically agreed to receive them
Media Tactics said that it had brought data from other websites such as insurance brokers and prize draw sites, with the belief that the citizens included had consented to being contacted by marketing companies.
However, the ICO ruled that the privacy notices on those sites were “generic and unspecific” and that as a result the consents obtained were not adequate.
“These 22 million pre-recorded calls will have left many people feeling frustrated,” said Steve Eckersley, ICO head of enforcement. “But some people found them alarming and distressing – we heard from one complainant who found the calls depressing and another who was too frightened to answer any calls at all.
“Media Tactics fell short of the mark when it treated consent as an administrative box-ticking exercise. Proper consent gives consumers control over how their information is used. The people targeted by Media Tactics were not given that control.”
The ICO has shown that it is not scared to bare its teeth when it comes to dishing out punishments, recently fining the Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance (RSA) £150,000 following the loss of the personal information of nearly 60,000 customers and threatening Facebook-owned WhatApp over how it collects and uses customer data.
It also fined two of the UK’s biggest charities for screening donors without their knowledge or consent and is currently investigating how data analytics was used to target voters in last year’s Brexit campaign.
Quiz: Are you a privacy expert?