ICO stirs hornet’s nest with plans for huge rise in fees

ICO new 2The Information Commissioner’s Office  has finally revealed how much companies will have to cough up under its new three-tier payment structure, with wholesale increases, sparking accusations that the ICO is “just another organisation profiting from GDPR”.
In an updated blog-post, the ICO details the three-tier structure used by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport in its recent consultation about future fees. The minimum fee will rise from £35 to £55 and the maximum will soar from £500 to £1,000, with an extra £20 direct marketing “top-up” fee.
Tier 1, up to £55 a year: For small and medium-sized firms that process under 10,000 records a year. They must have a staff headcount below 250; and annual turnover below £50m.
Tier 2, up to £80 a year: For SMEs who process over 10,000 records a year, with headcount below 250; and an annual turnover of £50m.
Tier 3, up to £1,000 a year: For companies with a staff headcount above 250; and an annual turnover above £50m.
There is also a £20 direct marketing top up fee for all organisations that carry out electronic marketing activities as part of their business.
DCMS is now considering the responses to the consultation before developing the fee regulations needed to underpin the ICO’s future funding arrangements.
But in the comments section of the ICO website, the changes have not exactly sparked huge confidence. One said: “It is rather laughable to suggest that this is a clarification. Apart from suggesting that fees will rise, there is no useful information whatever in this release.”
Another wrote: “Ah so, the sceptic in me thinks this is an opportunity for the ICO to raise their fees and use the GDPR as its excuse. Just another organisation profiting off new legislation. Oh and more ‘wait and see’. Thanks for that.”
A third commented: “How many successful cases did the ICO bring for not paying the £35 fee in the last financial year? Is the new fee structure designed for mass non-compliance like the current one? When the ICO struggles with enforcing the DPA, PECR etc effectively what is to make us believe that you will enforce the new fee structure from April?”

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