The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Everything DM Ltd (EDML), based in Stevenage, £60,000 for sending 1.42 million emails without consent.
The investigation found that, between May 2016 and May 2017, the firm used its direct marketing system called ‘Touchpoint’ to send emails on behalf of its clients for a fee.
Those emails gave the impression they were sent by the clients directly, and EDML couldn’t prove that the recipients’ had ever given consent to receive marketing emails from its clients or itself.
The investigation revealed that EDML relied on the consent of third parties but didn’t take reasonable steps to make sure the data complied with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
ICO Director of Investigations, Steve Eckersley, said:
“Firms providing marketing services to other organisations need to double-check whether they have valid consent from people to send marketing emails to them. Generic third party consent is not enough and companies will be fined if they break the law.”
The ICO has also served an Enforcement Notice on EDML requiring them to comply with PECR in the future.
Notes to Editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
- The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
- The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications. There are specific rules on:
- marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
- cookies (and similar technologies);
- keeping communications services secure; and
- customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.
- The ICO has the power to impose a civil monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000 for a breach of PECR.
- We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.
- The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law which took effect in the UK on 25 May 2018. Its provisions are included in the Data Protection Act 2018. The Act also includes measures related to wider data protection reforms in areas not covered by GDPR, such as law enforcement and security. The UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.
- The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit.
- Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
- Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by ICO.
- To report a concern go to ico.org.uk/concerns or call the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113.