Data firms under cosh as ICO ramps up political probe

ICO newThe Information Commissioner’s Office is piling the pressure on the UK data industry after widening its probe into the use of data analytics in political campaigns to carry out audits of GB Group, Acxiom and DLG, as well as Experian, Equifax and Callcredit (now TransUnion).
In an update to Parliament, Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said that three data companies – CACI, Data8 and GB Group – had been cleared of any wrongdoing, but investigations into the other six were ongoing.
In the case of Experian, Equifax and Callcredit these audits are already underway, while it has issued assessment notices to the other three to be able to carry out the audits.
Denham also confirmed that the regulator has issued a “notice of intent” to fine Brexit campaign group Leave.EU and the Eldon Insurance company, owned by Arron Banks, a total of £135,000 over breaches of data laws.
Leave.EU and Eldon – trading as GoSkippy – face fines of £60,000 each for sending more than 1 million emails to Leave.EU subscribers which also included marketing for the insurance company’s services, without their consent.
Meanwhile a separate £15,000 fine has been levied against Leave.EU for sending 300,000 emails to Eldon customers with a Leave.EU newsletter.
These penalties come on top of the £500,000 fine for Facebook and a £140,000 fine for Emma’s Diary.
Denham said: “[This] is not the end. Some of the issues uncovered in our investigation are still ongoing or will require further investigation or action.
“Throughout our enquiries we found a disturbing disregard for voters’ personal privacy by players across the political campaigning eco-system – from data companies and data brokers to social media platforms, campaign groups and political parties.”

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