Text spammers hit for £250k in landmark ruling
3 Oct 2012: The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has confirmed that it is set to issue two monetary penalties totalling well over £250,000 to two illegal marketers who have been responsible for distributing millions of spam texts.
The ICO has written to both individuals to confirm that the ICO intends to issue both of them with a monetary penalty for breaching the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which regulate electronic marketing. The recipients have 28 days to respond and prove that they were complying with the law otherwise final penalty notices will be issued.
Mike Lordan, Chief of Operations for the Direct Marketing Association, commented on the fines: "The DMA has long been urging the ICO to take action again the problem of SMS spam, so we're very pleased to see the ICO's first enforcement against two suspected SMS spammers. This is timely given the volume of complaints that consumers are making from receiving text spam continues to rise every month.
"Issuing huge fines sends out a strong message, so we look forward to seeing the ICO take more enforcement action to clamp down on this criminal activity. The ICO must continue to take a firm line to protect consumers and the legitimate mobile marketing industry alike."
Simon Entwisle, Director of Operations at the ICO said: “The public have told us that they are increasingly concerned about the illegal marketing texts and calls. These are often made by rogue companies claiming to offer pay outs for accidents a person has never had or Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claims that they are not necessarily entitled to.
“While companies can phone people to sell them the latest product or service, the law states that individuals should not receive unsolicited texts or automated marketing calls unless they have given their permission. We know many companies are failing to do this and two individuals responsible for sending millions of illegal marketing messages are now facing six figure penalties unless they can prove otherwise.
“It would be inappropriate to provide further comment until both individuals have had the opportunity to reply, but we are already working to identify other individuals and companies involved in these unlawful practices.”
Further information on the ICO’s work in this area can be found in a blog from Simon Entwisle, which is available on the ICO website here: http://www.ico.gov.uk/news/blog/2012/illegal-marketing-clampdown-begins-as-spam-texters-set-for-six-figure-fine.aspx
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