Two companies have been fined a total of 83,000 for breaking the rules about how people’s personal information should be treated when sending marketing emails.
An investigation by the
The emails, sent in
The airline has now been fined 70,000 for breaking the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR).
A separate ICO investigation into
The firm believed the emails were not classed as marketing but instead were customer service emails to help the company comply with data protection law.
“Both companies sent emails asking for consent to future marketing. In doing so they broke the law. Sending emails to determine whether people want to receive marketing without the right consent, is still marketing and it is against the law.”
“In Flybe’s case, the company deliberately contacted people who had already opted out of emails from them.”
The ICO recognises that companies will be reviewing how they obtain customer consent for marketing to comply with stronger data protection legislation coming into force in
“Businesses must understand they can’t break one law to get ready for another.”
Any company unsure of the best way to prepare for the change in consent under GDPR should contact the ICO for advice.
The ICO has published detailed guidance for firms carrying out direct marketing by phone, text, email, post or fax. Advice and guidance on data protection law reforms are available on the ICO’s website.
Notes to Editors
The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and will apply in the
The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to 500,000.
The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications. There are specific rules on:
– marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
– cookies (and similar technologies);
– keeping communications services secure; and
– customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.
We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.
The rules on electronic mail marketing (which includes text messages) are in regulation 22 of PECR. In short, you must not send electronic mail marketing to individuals, unless:
– they have specifically consented to electronic mail from you; or
– they are an existing customer who bought (or negotiated to buy) a similar product or service from you in the past, and you gave them a simple way to opt out both when you first collected their details and in every message you have sent.
You must not disguise or conceal your identity, and you must provide a valid contact address so they can opt out or unsubscribe.
Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (
Any monetary penalty is paid into the
To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.
(c) 2017 M2 COMMUNICATIONS, source