The Information Commissioner’s Office has struck a double blow to Aaron Banks after the arch-Brexiteer’s attempts to overturn a double fine for both Leave EU and Eldon Insurance (now Somerset Bridge) have been booted out by the First Tier Tribunal.
In February last year, Leave EU, which was bankrolled by Banks, was fined £15,000 for using Eldon customers’ details unlawfully to send almost 300,000 political marketing messages, and a further £45,000 for its part in sending an Eldon marketing campaign to political subscribers. Eldon, which is also controlled by Banks, was fined £60,000 for the latter violation.
The two organisations launched their appeals late last year, arguing that the fines were disproportionate and that the regulator had made errors in the run up to issuing the penalties.
During the hearing, the ICO’s own legal council was forced to admit that its own standards had fallen “well below” expectations following “procedural errors” but maintained the fines were justified.
In a statement, the ICO said: “We are pleased that the Tribunal has upheld our enforcement action against Eldon Insurance and Leave EU. [Our] investigation found that personal data gathered for political purposes should not have been used to market insurance products.
“[We] will continue to hold organisations to account so that people can have trust and confidence in the way their personal data is handled.”
Eldon, which changed its name to Somerset Bridge in December, has told Post Online that it is not giving up the fight.
It released a statement of its own which reads: “Despite the decision recognising shortcomings in the process adapted by the ICO, we are disappointed to see that the Tribunal has, after some consideration, rejected our appeal. We disagree with the decision and intend to appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal.”
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