The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is set to issue penalties of over £250,000 to two illegal marketers thought to have distributed millions of spam texts.
Both individuals have received notification of plans to hand out the fines under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations which regulate electronic marketing.
The decision comes after the ICO investigated the spam messages, which featured no named sender, and the sale of consumer contact details to other companies for further marketing use.
People who received the spam messages via their mobile devices were offered accident compensation and payment protection insurance mis-selling services.
The accused have 28 days to respond and prove they were complying with the law. A failure to do so will result in the fines being handed out.
It is illegal to send marketing messages via text to people who have not signed up to receive them from the company involved.
Under new powers, the ICO is able to levy fines of up to £500,000 for the misuse of personal data in this way.
Simon Entwisle, director of operations at the ICO, said members of the public are "increasingly concerned" about the illegal marketing texts and calls.
"These are often made by rogue companies claiming to offer pay outs for accidents a person has never had or PPI claims that they are not necessarily entitled to," he stated.
"While companies can phone people to sell them the latest product or service, the law states that individuals should not receive unsolicited texts or automated marketing calls unless they have given their permission."
Mr Entwisle said companies are failing to do this, and the two individuals responsible for sending millions of illegal marketing messages are now facing six figure penalties unless they can prove otherwise.
“It would be inappropriate to provide further comment until both have had the opportunity to reply, but we are already working to identify other individuals and companies involved in these unlawful practices," he stated.
Posted by Jon Aspinell on 2nd October 2012
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