Update: Data Protection and Direct Marketing

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Posted in:Corporate and Commercial|November 10, 2015 | Join the mailing list

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) sets out various rules in relation to processing personal data, which is data that relates to an individual who can be identified from it and is necessary to comply
with the eight data protection principles.

The law in relation to data protection and other information rights is enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which has various enforcement powers. In December 2014, it issued an
Enforcement Notice against Optical Express Limited in connection with unsolicited marketing communications upon receiving 7,506 complaints from individuals. The tribunal upheld the ICO’s enforcement notice requiring a company to stop sending unsolicited marketing
texts to individuals whose details were obtained under data supplier agreements. This case serves as a reminder that failure to comply with applicable rules can lead not only to the issue of Enforcement Notices by the ICO but also to the issue of monetary
penalty notices of up to £500,000.  In addition, breaches of the law can lead to reputational damage and loss of business. This reinforces the need for businesses to inform individuals whom their personal data will be shared with and for what purposes, and
to obtain prior consent in relation to email and text marketing.

The changes to the Privacy Regulations have made it easier for the ICO to impose monetary penalties on anyone who breaches the rules in relation to unsolicited marketing communications.  The ICO
has also recently issued a record monetary penalty notice of £200,000 to a company for making automated marketing calls without the recipients’ prior consent.  Previously it was necessary for the ICO to demonstrate that substantial damage or distress had resulted
from the flouting of the rules but this is no longer the case. 

Should you have any queries regarding a corporate issue, or commercial matters generally, please contact Stephen Foster, Partner and Head of the Corporate and Commercial
Department, at stephenf@berg.co.uk, or by telephoning 0161 833 9211.

The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility
for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by berg or any of its partners or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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