back to article ICO fines Flybe, Honda for breaking data rules. They were, um, trying to comply with GDPR

The Information Commissioner's Office is baring its teeth as we rocket towards the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect. As the relevant data protection authority in the UK, the ICO will be responsible for regulating the nation's data economy when GDPR kicks in, which means ensuring businesses …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Well Honda sent 10% of the emails compared to FlyBe but got fined 20% of FlyBe's fine (rough figures). Goes to show, if you're going to spam, go large (copyright McDonalds probably)

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "if you're going to spam, go large "

      Actually I'd prefer they didn't go at all.

      Although they could say they were following government policy, where you have to opt out of being filtered.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It just goes to show that some marketing muppets are unable to manage the digital equivalent of keeping their dicks in their trousers.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Emails aren't such a problem, you can just block companies like this.

    When's the crackdown on phone calls coming? You used to be safe if you didn't have a land line, but now telemarketers call mobiles too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Block them - how? It's not like such spam is always sent from their own servers, or even using their own domain in the From: field. Oh-so-surprisingly, they're not interested in handling the bounces generated by millions of messages sent.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Spam is pretty easy to filter.

        If you're not already refusing non-CLI phone calls and using your mobile's blocklist features (you do have a modern smartphone right?), then the number you get is pitiful. Get the apps that automatically looks up those "who's calling" lists for any number you don't already know.

        And then you just blacklist anyone who gets through those measures and tell them why.

        If the only way you can sell to me is to phone me up at random, without permission, on the off-chance that I might want to buy whatever-it-is, at that exact moment, from that exact company only, then you're really dead in the water anyway and there's no way I'd want to do business with you.

        I have to say, HP resellers - and HP themselves - are doing this to me at the moment. I wouldn't mind but there's literally not a single piece of HP hardware or software anywhere on the site, and hasn't been for over a decade.

        Bother me once, I'll take your details, make no promises, let you send to my work email.

        Bother me again, within six months or a year, no problem.

        Bother me more than that, blacklist. And I'll tell you why.

        Yeah, it's "just one email to check in" but multiplied by every business in the UK that might want to do business with me, that's a ludicrous amount of unnecessary emails.

        Personal users, there's no excuse. Unless I've literally signed something saying yes, the answer is no.

        My landline doesn't get answered, it just goes to voicemail.

        My phone doesn't get answered if I don't know who you are, it doesn't even HAVE voicemail.

        Both are on TPS.

        My email I can just click Spam and that's the end of it.

        Bother me past that, and I'll just blacklist your company forever in both walks of life, personal and professional.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          so you are going to block...

          your doctor

          your local Health Centre

          your local NHS Hospital

          from calling you...?

          These orgs often withhold their caller ID for reasons of patient confidentiality.

          They are silly but the NHS is an immovable creature on this.

          so just be careful about blocking calls from this type of organisation.

          surrey and sussex NHS Trust does this.

          Frimly park NHS trust does not.

          Go figure

          1. Captain Hogwash

            Re: so you are going to block...

            I have an IP PBX. Callers have the option of entering a pre-shared code to talk to me, entering zero to leave a message, or hanging up. Any messages are immediately emailed. Unless they choose option one (only available to friends and family) I never hear the phone ring. This arrangement allows communications from officialdom, doctors, commercial organisations with which I have a relationship, etc. It also handles robo-callers rather well.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's becoming common for companies to use random geographic numbers ( possibly from a SIP supplier ). Blacklisting doesn't work. Blocking non-geographic numbers doesn't work and is mightily inconvenient.

        3. paulf

          @Lee D

          "Bother me once, I'll take your details, make no promises, let you send to my work email. Bother me again, within six months or a year, no problem. Bother me more than that, blacklist. And I'll tell you why."

          Wow - you're forgiving!

          I let a first violation go as it could be a mistake (it's unlikely but hey ho) and I let the company know they should stop.

          On the second email the destination email address is deleted and that's it for that company.

          On calls if it's an unrecognised number it doesn't get answered. I do a quick call back to check; if it's dodgy they go on the block list immediately.

          I don't answer withheld numbers unless I'm definitely expecting a call from one. If I'm definitely not expecting one it doesn't get answered at all.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Any "spam" spam ends up filtered by gmail.

        Anything else such as mailing lists you didn't sign up for can just be blocked.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Block them - how?"

        1. Get your own domain, or maybe an email provider who can provide you with your own subdomain.

        2. Set up a separate alias/address for each firm you have to do business with such as your bank.

        3. Every few weeks set up a new alias/address for one-off contacts and tear down the old one.

        4. Each of these addresses gets directed to a single mailbox you you don't have to check all of them.

        5. If any of these addresses leak you can tell which one. Be ruthless about tearing down the address because it isn't going to affect the rest of your email. If the correspondent gets in touch by some other means to complain make it an educational opportunity. Or change supplier.

        6. It also helps to spot the fakes. If banking phishing mail doesn't come addressed to your banking email address it's immediately obvious even if they've hit the right bank name by accident.

        This deals with most situations. There are exceptions. Amazon, for instance, seem to insist that communications from market place vendors go through themselves whilst others don't have that much wit. Paypal is one such. They pass the purchaser's email address to the vendor. Most don't spam but one or two do. What makes that particular situation doubly bad is that the email address is also the logon ID; that's right Paypal hand half the customer's login credentials to every vendor they buy from. Maybe there's an el Reg article in that?

  4. Dabooka Silver badge
    Devil

    Not sure they sent these to try and comply

    A very good friend worked until fairly recently at one of the mobile telcos that now constitutes the EE brand, and I assure you they had teams of folk ringing customers up who'd requested no marketing contact to 'ensure their preferences were still reflecting their wishes'.

    It was overtly used as a hook to engage in chat and try and up sell and upgrade. Much debate occurred internally about the legality of this and many refused to engage in it, my pal being one.

    So I could easily imagine the justification of these emails being agreed in marketeers round tables and not those in charge of data compliance.

  5. monty75

    Seeing as how I received one of those Flybe emails where do I sign up for my compensation?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At £.02 each it will likely come postage due.

      1. monty75

        At least it might arrive. Unlike my Flybe flight

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Time to get the message, methinks

    You do not ask your customers or prospects if they want marketing email - they don't.

    You put the option on your site and you wait for the clicks to tell you about those who do.

    This whole situation just might have an interesting effect down the road. One day, we just might see marketing managers be like mother hens : very attentive to how much they contact their (short) list of email addresses lest they provoke yet another enraged Customer to come in and opt out of their marketing. Losing 20 contacts gets them fired.

    I like the sound of that.

  7. syates

    I had an unwanted sales call last week that started with " As you opened our email last week, we are taking the liberty of calling you"

  8. nijam Silver badge

    Ironically, the phone calls asking about your willingness to receive future emails are far more irritating and time-consuming than the emails.

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