Graham, who was speaking at a Westminster e-forum, said that using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter does not have to mean consumers sign a pact with the devil, as long as “everyone understands the risks and demands better”.
His view will no doubt be seized upon by the likes of Allow, the new data company set up by former Capital One marketing chief Justin Basini, which puts control of personal data back into the hands of consumers.
Graham also warned the ICO is preparing to issue its fifth data breach fine, saying: “Data controllers should realise, if they let consumers down, a fine from the ICO will be the Mark of Cain.”
He did not offer any further details on which organisation would be subject to the fine, but a number of organisations – including Wolverhampton City Council, Leicester City Council and the University of York – have been flagged up by the ICO for data breaches in the last few weeks.
The ICO was given the power to fine companies that fall foul of the data breach laws up to £500,000 in January 2010, but did not issue its first penalty until November 2010, following months of apparent inaction.
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