ICO Report for 2015 - 2016
The Information Commissioner’s Office ('ICO') has released its Annual Report for 2015 – 2016. The ICO is an independent body 'set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individual'. It is therefore an important authority and its annual report outlines trends, changes and noteworthy moments in the past year.
According to the report, the ICO has seen an increased amount of enquiries relating to data protection concerns and 16,388 were complaints. There were a number of fines imposed, including one of £130,000 to a company called Pharmacy2U for not processing data correctly. As a company, they had sold over 20,000 customers to a list marketing company without those people’s knowledge or consent. This is a clear breach of fair processing requirements under the Data Protection Act 1998, being the main piece of legislation that governs data protection.
Overall, it seems the UK Information Commissioner is pleased with the ICO’s performance in dealing with the increased complaints, as well as the unexpected developments such as the data breach suffered by TalkTalk, and various other consultations on future governing of surveillance and security, which will become increasingly important as times goes on.
With the increased activity by the ICO, it is apparent that data protection is becoming increasingly significant to those who hold personal data about others. A marked increase in civil fines or penalties issues under EU legislation has increased to nearly £2million for companies that are engaging in nuisance activities such as unsolicited calls or other such marketing activities.
Of course in the future, as well as considering the importance of being vigilant with the monitoring and use of data, the ICO will also be key in trying to efficiently guide companies with future implementations of EU legislation (due to come into effect prior to the result of Brexit), as well as dealing with the actual consequences of Brexit in years to come.