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ICO looks into 1000 data share companies


The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) will be investigating 1000 companies that are involved in buying and selling data to ensure that they are acting within the law.

The ICO will write to companies that they believe are involved in collecting and selling data that is then used by cold calling companies. It will also confirm that it will be issuing fines to three separate companies, one which has been accused of sending more than one million text messages about PPI claims.

The ICO will challenge these companies on how exactly they comply with the law, what data they have shared and a list of all the companies they recently worked with. Once the latest fines are applied, the ICO said the penalties firms will have received in the past four months alone would hit £1m.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham revealed that the ICO receives 180,000 complaints a year from customers, which helps them discover which companies are breaking the law. He said:
"That information has helped us to make some big breakthroughs in the nuisance calls business, alongside the intelligence we build up from elsewhere, from whistleblowers for instance, or from the network providers.

"We see clear patterns building up and can identify who ... the truly bad actors are. This enables us to execute search warrants, and to drag people before the courts."

Executive director of consumer group Which?, Richard Lloyd, has welcomed the response from the ICO but believes more needs to be done to eliminate nuisance calls. He said:
"We now need to see much tougher penalties for senior executives of companies making unlawful calls, including board directors being held personally accountable.”

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