In the UK, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of enforcement actions in recent months given the increasing public intolerance of spam emails and marketing calls.
The UK regulatory body, the ICO, have recently issued a blog post and video regarding marketing. It’s worth noting that it isn’t always the lists which companies have themselves that are the issue (though this is sometimes the case) but the multiplicity of data sharing which takes place. I recently started to receive spam emails from a London-based marketing company, so I asked why. I was told my details had been collected some years ago by an agency, retained and then sold on to a list manager, who then sold them on again to whoever wished to purchase them. They had my incorrect address and perhaps this was affecting my credit status as well. This shows it’s not just a theoretical issue or a nice to have, but something that can affect us all and which companies should take seriously.
It’s also worth noting that it’s not just the ICO who can levy fines (currently limited to £500,000 but they’ve not been as high as that yet) – in the last week we’ve seen a claims handling company fined £850,000 by the Ministry of Justice’s Claims Management Regulator (regulating the claims industry) for spam calls even to people who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service (a list of people who do not wish to be contacted by phone for marketing). The FCA can also levy data-related fines in its regulation of the financial services industry – and these fines can extend into the millions of pounds.
Do take care when purchasing lists, undertaking marketing activities and conducting data privacy reviews and compliance checks!