ICO slams a £440,000 fine on spam texters

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has for the first time used its powers to issue monetary penalties under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). It fined two owners of a marketing company £440,000 for sending millions of unlawful spam texts over the past three years. The company, Tetrus Telecoms, is jointly owned by Christopher Niebel and Gary McNeish.

This power, available to the ICO since January 2012, may soon be used against three other companies, the ICO says.

Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said: “In March we set up a survey on the ICO website so people can tell us about any unwanted texts and calls they have been receiving. So far we have received over 60,000 responses. We know the majority of these messages and calls have been made by companies who try to remain anonymous in the hope they can profit by selling personal information to claims management companies and other marketing organisations. We are using the information provided by the public to identify those responsible.”

“We will continue to work with the relevant authorities as well as the network providers to ensure companies like this are punished. We’re also working with the Ministry of Justice to target claims management companies who purchase this information breaching the industry regulations, the Data Protection Act, as well as electronic marketing regulations.”

The fine was issued on 28 November.