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156K spam text-sending firm to ICO: It wasn't us, Commissioner

Get fined £45,000 by Brit regulator anyway

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office has fined Hamilton Digital Solutions £45,000 for sending spam text messages, it announced today, despite its protestations that a third party had been responsible.

The London-based company (now known as HDSL) sent more than 156,000 unwanted messages between April and September 2016, according to the complaint. When the ICO investigated, Hamilton said the messages had been sent by another company, based in Belize, on Hamilton's behalf. This company would then text people who had given their consent to be contacted.

After the ICO said that the evidence it had received regarding this was insufficient, Hamilton turned to solicitors. Its legal team then mounted a defence on the grounds that Hamilton had not been the instigator of the messages (despite stating previously that they had ordered them), and also that the Commissioner couldn't prove that it hadn't obtained consent.

The ICO was satisfied that Hamilton had indeed broken Regulation 22 of its Privacy and Electronic Communication Rules (PECR), which states that senders need the permission of the recipients before sending marketing messages.

The penalty must be paid by December 19, and HDSL must also cease its illegal marketing or face further punishments.

The ICO has issued £2m in fines across 20 cases since April 2017, and expects to impose another £1.4m in the coming months. ®

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