Who: Information Commissioner’s Office (the “ICO“)
When: 11 May 2016
Law stated as at: 9 June 2016
Back in April 2016, we reported on an instance in which the ICO took action against political campaigning that failed to adhere to marketing laws (click here to read this article).
Following this, the ICO has now fined the Brexit organisation Better for the Country (better known as Leave.EU) for sending more than half a million texts asking people to support its campaign.
By failing to obtain consent from these individuals, the Brexit organisation faced a £50,000 fine from the ICO.
Upon being questioned, the organisation explained that they had obtained the contact details from a third party supplier. Whilst the recipients in question had in fact consented to receiving marketing communications, this was only in relation to messages concerning areas including leisure, home improvements and insurance. Recipients had not signed up tor receiving messages relating to EU politics and therefore the consent obtained by the third party was inadequate.
Why this matters:
This is yet another example that serves to show the pitfalls of purchasing data from third party suppliers where the purchaser has not conducted the appropriate due diligence. If marketing lists are purchased they should be checked to ensure that the third party has obtained the data lawfully and fairly, as well as obtaining the necessary consents.
This is an interesting example that enforces the rule that consent must be clear and specific. In this case, despite actually giving consent to receiving marketing communications, the recipients would not expect to receive messages about EU politics. Organisations should ensure that potential recipients are aware of what they are signing up to and therefore will not be surprised when receiving such messages.