Charities which ignore the Fundraising Preference Service would still be in breach of the law – and liable for fines of up to £500,000 – despite the fact that it is not a statutory requirement, the Information Commissioner’s Office has confirmed.
Speaking at a conference in London late last week, the ICO senior policy officer Richard Marbrow said the FPS would have legal status because the regulator would view consumer sign-ups as a withdrawal of consent to receive marketing communications.
Marbrow some professionals had suggested charities would be able to ignore the service because it was non-statutory but the ICO could pursue a them for breaching the consent requirements of the Data Protection Act. DPA breaches carry a maximum fine of £500,000.
Although former Information Commissioner Christopher Graham initially criticised the FPS for being confusing, the regulator now wants the service to apply to all marketing communications, bringing it under the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations. Breaches of PECR carry a maximum fine of £250,000.
One study estimated that up to 30 million people could sign up to the FPS.
The move comes as Graham’s successor Elizabeth Denham takes up the role from today (July 18). She said: Ms Denham said: “I am delighted to have taken up this position and am excited about the challenges ahead. I look forward to working with staff and stakeholders to promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.”
Denham, who will serve a five year term as Information Commissioner, has held senior positions in privacy regulation in Canada over the last 12 years. Since 2010 she has been the Commissioner at the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, Canada.
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