From 6 April 2015, the Data Protection Act 1998 will be amended to remove the need to prove “substantial damage or substantial distress” before the Information Commission Office (ICO) can take action in respect of unsolicited direct marketing communications, including calls (automated or live), texts and emails. This development follows the well-known decision in the Niebels case (where this threshold meant that the offenders escaped punishment) and a public consultation.
The amendment will make it easier for the ICO to fine organisations that flout the rules on unsolicited electronic direct marketing. Fines can be up to £500,000. In future, the government will be looking at whether the ICO’s current powers to hold board level executives to account are sufficient, or whether more needs to be done.
The change will come into effect from 6 April 2015.
For a checklist highlighting the key data protection issues a business should consider when carrying out direct marketing or for more information, please contact our commercial team on 01737 854 500 or find out more here.