The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published quarterly updates on enforcement with respect to spam texts, sales calls and cookies. The update on spam texts reports that a current focus of the ICO’s enforcement activity is on organisations contravening the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (as amended) (PECR) by sending unsolicited texts to consumers. For example, the ICO has recently issued a civil monetary penalty of £175,000 against a payday loans company foe sending unsolicited text messages. The report also reveals that the ICO is lobbying the UK government to lower the trigger for civil monetary penalties in the PECR in order the create a stronger deterrent effect. The update on sales calls reports that the number of concerns about sales calls reported to the ICO fell over the last quarter. The ICO is actively monitoring 14 companies for compliance (governed by the PECR which covers direct marketing calls as well as unsolicited text messages). Enforcement action against those companies is possible if improvements are not made. The update on cookies reports that the ICO is focussing on websites that are doing nothing to raise awareness of cookies, or get users' consent, but it is noted that the ICO consider the threat level in this area to be low due to the low levels of concerns reported to the ICO by members of the public.
TIP: Spam texts, sales calls and cookies are currently priority issues on which the ICO is likely to take enforcement action for non-compliance. Companies operating in the UK should ensure that they are familiar with the relevant rules and ensure they are complied with.