Further to our recent e-update "Founder of Consulting Association to go on Trial" Ian Kerr, the founder of the Consulting Association which illegally stored and sold employees confidential data, pleaded guilty at Macclesfield Magistrates Court to breaching the Data Protection Act.

At the trial, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) confirmed that Mr Kerr had charged firms an annual fee of £3,000 to subscribe to the illegal service and had been operating the illegal database for 15 years.

Magistrates in Macclesfield confirmed that the maximum fine of £5,000 for breaching data protection laws was "wholly inadequate" in these circumstances. The case has now been referred to the Crown Court for harsher sentencing and Mr Kerr could face an unlimited fine.

The Assistant Information Commissioner Mick Gorrell commented that the ICO "will be looking at the companies which subscribed to the database and consider sending enforcement notices”. This means that some of the largest construction companies in the UK could face enforcement actions.