ICO aims at 400 online gambling companies for misuse of personal data

Very British regulator sends a lot of very stern letters

The Information Commissioner's Office has penned and sent more than 400 letters to online gambling businesses it believes are using personal data to promote their websites.

The exceedingly British regulator has embarked upon the exceedingly British method of expressing grievance by writing to companies and demanding they explain how they obtained people's personal information, and how many spam texts they are subsequently sending out to promote themselves.

The letter-writing campaign forms part of the ICO's investigation into the dizzying amount of spam texts being issued forth by the gambling sector, or more specifically the gambling sector's affiliate marketing efforts.

Affiliate marketing sees the gambling sector offer cash to organisations that bring them new customers, and the ICO laments how this sometimes leads to "a situation where neither party is taking any responsibility for complying with the rules".

The office's anti-spam investigations manager, David Clancy, said:

Companies must comply with the law when using people's personal information. Not knowing the law or trying to pass the buck to another company in the chain is no excuse.

The public expect firms to be accountable for how they obtain and use personal data when marketing by phone, email or text. Fail to be accountable and you could be breaking the law, risking ICO enforcement action and the future of your business.

Such failures to comply can result in enforcement action from the data cops, which can extend to a £500,000 fine.

Clancy continued:

It's thanks to consumers who've reported spam texts to us, as well as intelligence from other sources, that we've been able to progress our investigations to this stage. If businesses do not respond to the request for information, the ICO can use its powers to demand the information to be provided.

The ICO provides advice to the public on dealing with spam texts on its website, as well as an easy-to-use online reporting tool. ®

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