ICO Raids Addresses in Nuisance Text Investigation

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has raided two addresses in Greater Manchester as it continues to crack down on nuisance text companies.

The privacy regulator is best known for its work enforcing the UK’s data protection laws, but also polices the related Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which govern the use of marketing emails, texts and calls.

It claimed yesterday to have executed search warrants at offices in Stockport and a house in Sale as part of an investigation into firms thought to be responsible for sending 11 million unsolicited marketing texts to consumers.

The regulator claimed to have received over 3200 complaints from UK mobile subscribers about the SMS barrage, which lasted from January 2017 to January 2018. They had no option to opt-out and were unable to identify who the calls were from, which is against the law.

The ICO seized documents and computer equipment from the raided premises.

“Nuisance text messages like this are a real problem for people as seen in the number of complaints we have received in this case alone,” explained ICO enforcement group manager, Andy Curry.

“Businesses and individuals who carry out this type of marketing, should be assured that we will carry out thorough investigations and take tough action against them where necessary. Along with existing evidence, we hope the evidence seized in the raids will enable us to stop this business’s activity and act as a deterrent to others.”

The raids follow some major fines handed out by the ICO to nuisance text and call firms last year.

Fareham business OneCom was hit with a £100,000 fine, Miss-sold Products UK received a £350,000 penalty and Kerboum Communications was slapped with a £400,000 fine.

However, the regulator has been frustrated in trying to recover the money from the directors of some of these companies. Kerboum Communications, for example, went into voluntary liquidation.

A change in the law will soon make directors personally liable for illegal marketing calls.

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