PL&B UK E-news, Issue 59

1. Three men sent to prison for data protection related offence

Leeds Crown Court sentenced three men to prison on 8 June for their involvement in bogus data protection agencies. The men, who had sent fake letters to thousands of businesses demanding registration fees of £135, had managed to earn £62,575 from their illegal activities.

One of the men was jailed for two and a half years, and the other two for 13 months and 8 months respectively.

Simon Entwisle, Chief Operating Officer at the Information Commissioner’s Office, said: “We are delighted with this result. Once again it sends out a very clear message: if you run a bogus data protection agency you will be investigated and prosecuted”. He added: “If a business receives a letter out of the blue demanding more than £35 to register under the DPA then this will be a scam. Our simple message to businesses is to disregard the letter and do not pay the fee demanded.”

Richard Thomas, Information Commissioner, will speak on “New strategy and new priorities for Data Protection and Freedom of Information” and Binding Corporate Rules, and David Smith, Deputy Commissioner, will hold a consultation session on the ICO’s new strategy and priorities, and speak on “The EU’s data protection framework for law enforcement” at Privacy Laws & Business’s 20th Annual International Conference, July 2-4th at St. John’s College, Cambridge. They will be joined by 50 other speakers from 10 countries.

2. People are willing to pay for better privacy

On-line shoppers are prepared to pay for having their personal data protected, reveals a recent study by a US-based Carnegie Mellon University. The results show that the privacy premium - the additional amount of money participants would be willing to pay to purchase from a site with a better privacy policy, as opposed to the cheapest site with poor privacy - was around sixty US cents, the equivalent of 30p.

Regardless of the nature of the item purchased, people were inclined to buy from privacy-friendly sites. However, the effect of the privacy information was not greater when people purchased privacy-sensitive items than when they purchase non-privacy-sensitive items.

The research is based on the online shopping behaviour of 276 US citizens, who were all experienced online shoppers. The ages of the participants ranged from 18 to 71.
The respondents were well educated, and 62.5% were female.

See the study: ‘The Effect of Online Privacy Information on Purchasing Behavior’.

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