ICO takes a close look at bad direct marketing practices

Marta Dunphy-Moriel and Alexander Dittel of Kemp Little examine trends in the ICO’s enforcement and say that there is more to come.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) remains focused on enforcement relating to unsolicited marketing communications in contravention of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), particularly nuisance calls, emails and text messages. A significant number of penalties were imposed in 2019 and the maximum penalty was imposed on a company in February 2020.

Fines under PECR remain capped at £500,000. As explained in its Regulatory Action Policy (2019-2021), the ICO focuses on more serious, high-impact and intentional breaches. Nuisance calls and spam messages can cause significant distress to individuals. The ICO takes action if there is a marketing element, whereas scam cases are referred to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre.

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