back to article UK ICO fines biz profiteering from COVID-19 crisis by sending unsolicited marketing texts to Joe Public

Digital Growth Experts Ltd (DGEL) is nursing a £60,000 smackdown doled out by the UK’s data watchdog after it sent out thousands of nuisance marketing text messages about hand sanitisers during the coronavirus outbreak. Some 16,190 texts were received by unsuspecting members of the public between 29 February and 30 April, said …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Still not clear

    As a data protection consultant, it's still not clear to me what basis the ICO uses to select the cases they pursue. My general impression is that it may largely be driven by narrow interpretation of specific clauses in the legislation, rather than on the wider implications to complainants. This case is based on PECR, for which that approach may work adequately, but in the context of the GDPR and its UK replica (which are human rights law, not data law) only the GDPR data-specific rights seem to be considered, which leaves a huge range of common personal data abuses untouched.

    1. Mark192 Silver badge

      Re: Still not clear

      In this case, "DGEL came to the attention of the ICO when complaints forwarded via short text 7726 to the GSMA’s Spam Reporting Service were incorporated into the ICO’s Monthly Threat Assessment, which is used to identify organisations in breach of PECR."

      https://ico.org.uk/action-weve-taken/enforcement/digital-growth-experts-limited-en/

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Still not clear

      Nothing at all to do with GDPR. Uses a pre existing law stating that marketing calls are

      A) Callee is not on a do not call list

      B) Callee has an existing relationship with caller and has consented to marketing calls.

    3. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Still not clear

      I do find it difficult to get the ICO to care about clear and obvious information abuses.

      Their standard response is always, "Have you raised it with the abuser?"

      Well, no. That's their job, not mine.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still not clear

      As someone who has involved the ICO in several incidents, they are incredibly inconsistent.

      Several major incidents we expected them to be interested in - they told us we'd done everything already and closed it down.

      Then a minor one which we were on the fence about reporting they dug into like a dog with a bone.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Should really be OFCOM

    The virus is spread almost exclusively over the air (a novel OTA update!) so hand sanitisers cannot effectively stop its spread. They may well prevent other infections spreading, just not SARS-COV-2.

    On the plus side, the fine seems proportionate and can hopefully be collected. Non-payment of fines has been the biggest problem so far.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Should really be OFCOM

      Jail is now an option. Dissolving a company is no longer an escape route.

  3. monty75

    A pedant writes...

    Since when has "feather its own pockets" been an expression? It's "feather its own nest" or "line its own pockets".

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: A pedant writes...

      Well, it begs the question, but I could care less. Not worth loosing my temper over one rouge marketer.

      Trollface icon, because as a fellow pedant, even as I wrote the above I was twitching -->

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: "feather its own pockets"

      Brings a whole new meaning to "What togs are you wearing today?"

      The standard of the English language is going down. Duvet care?

      1. Insert sadsack pun here

        Re: "feather its own pockets"

        No point in moaning about it - they'll just sweep it under the blanket. It's not like anyone got fleeced out of their nest egg.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "feather its own pockets"

      I was going to check this one, but I was too busy lining my own nest.

  4. 0laf Silver badge

    But will they collect.

    The ICO is not a good finisher. Just ask BA.

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    GDPR Post Brexit...

    The bogeyman of Downing St strikes again

    "Dominic Cummings' data law shake-up a danger to trade, says EU"

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/25/dominic-cummings-data-law-shake-up-a-danger-to-trade-says-eu

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