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Summary of Monetary Penalty Notices and Prosecutions for November/December 2014

Monetary Penalty Notices

Kwik Fix Plumbers Limited (22 December 2014)

Fine: £90,000

Breach: Nuisance phone calls to numbers registered with TPS in contravention of regulation 21 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR) as amended by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2004.

Background: Kwik Fix Plumbers Limited (Kwik Fix), a telemarketing company, was responsible for 214 complaints to the ICO between 1 July 2013 and 31 March 2014 regarding unsolicited direct marketing phone calls. A number of complaints were from or on behalf of subscribers who were either elderly and/or suffering from Dementia/Alzheimer's disease.

The ICO sent Kwik Fix a letter explaining its powers and asking Kwik Fix to justify their actions. Amongst other things, Kwik Fix admitted that they did not have any policies and procedures or training in place for their staff regarding contact with customers and their responsibilities under PECR.

The ICO believed that Kwik Fix acted deliberately when making unsolicited calls for direct marketing purposes. There is evidence provided by some of the complainants to suggest that Kwik Fix was aware that it was contravening Regulation 21 of PECR but continued with this unlawful practice.

Click here for the full Monetary Penalty Notice text.

Parklife Manchester Limited (5 December 2014)

Fine: £70,000

Breach: Sending of unsolicited marketing text messages where the identity of the sender has been disguised in contravention of regulation 23 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR) as amended by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2004.

Background: Parklife Manchester Limited (Parklife), a company who organises and promotes a popular music festival, sent unsolicited text messages to approximately 70,000 individuals. The text message read "Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your [sic] going, make sure your [sic] home for breakfast! Xxx www.afterlifemcr.com" and the sender was entitled "Mum".

The ICO, the GSMA's Spam Reporting Service and Parklife itself received numerous complaints from recipients of the text messages who were extremely distressed by the messages.

Click here for the full Monetary Penalty Notice text.

Prosecutions

Harkanwarjit Dhanju (13 November 2014)

Sentence: Fined £1000, ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £608.30 prosecution costs.

Breach: Unlawfully obtaining or accessing personal data in breach of section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Background: Dhanju unlawfully accessed the patients’ records while working as a pharmacist at 3 different surgeries. Dhanju had responsibility for handling medication reviews for patients in local residential care homes with dementia and other mental health issues. However, during a routine audit at one of the surgeries, the surgery manager uncovered that Dhanju was using his security pass to access unrelated medical records in breach of section 55 of the Data Protection Act.

Click here for the full ICO news article for this prosecution.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at January 2015. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases; we cannot be held responsible for any action (or decision not to take action) made in reliance upon the content of this publication.

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