UK data privacy watchdogs raided Thursday a call centre allegedly linked to millions of nuisance calls.
Officers from the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) and Trading Standards conducted the operation against a business in the Brighton area suspected of using automatic dialling technology to make four to six million recorded telephone calls a day about debt management or payment protection insurance.
The calls are made anonymously, without consent and it is impossible to opt out of receiving them.
Documents and computer equipment were seized for further examination. Another premises in Maidenhead thought to host the company’s servers has also been raided.
The ICO will evaluate what action is necessary in order to compel the organisation to comply with the rules regarding recorded telephone calls. Options on the table include levying a fine or imposing an enforcement notice.
In a statement, David Clancy, ICO enforcement team manager said: "Our intelligence has identified this address as being responsible for making millions upon millions of recorded messages. It is astounding to think this one small company has the ability to pester millions of people with unwanted calls on a huge scale."
Clancy hopes that the equipment seized will enable the ICO to discover from where this organisation is sourcing its data, and prevent them from selling it to third parties.
"The rules on making recorded messages are clear, and if the evidence proves the law has been broken we will act," he added.
The raid was prompted by intelligence sourced from the Ministry of Justice Claims Management Regulation Unit and the ICO’s online reporting tool. It was carried out with the assistance of the CMRU and Brighton & Hove City Council Trading Standards.
The regulations covering electronic marketing, including marketing calls and texts, are due to change from April to make it easier for the ICO to take action against rogue companies. ®