Further to our recent e-update "Information Commission Cracks Down on Sale of Confidential Data", Ian Kerr, the founder of the Consulting Association which illegally stored and sold employees confidential data, went on trial today for breaching the Data Protection Act.

After raiding Mr Kerr's business premises the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) found that Mr Kerr held detailed information on 3,123 constructions workers without their knowledge. The ICO was also able to establish that Mr Kerr had operated the illegal database for 15 years charging an annual subscription fee of £3,000.

Mr Kerr is being prosecuted by the ICO for breaching the Data Protection Act. The principal offences under the Act are:

  • Section 17 - processing information without being registered as a Data Controller  
  • Section 55 - unlawfully obtaining or disclosing personal data.  

Mr Kerr's case is being heard at Macclesfield Magistrates' court. If Mr Kerr is found guilty of the above offences he could face a fine of up to £5000. Due to the severity of Mr Kerr's wrongdoings however, the case may be referred to the Crown Court meaning Mr Kerr could face an unlimited fine.  

The ICO hopes that this prosecution will remind business leaders of the consequences they could face if they fail to fulfil their obligations under the Data Protection Act.