Don’t get caught out by subject access requests

By Sally-Anne Poole, Enforcement Group Manager.

sar-blogThe ICO’s recent fine for a data breach at a GP surgery in Hertfordshire was the direct result of a subject access request gone wrong.

The practice revealed confidential details about a patient to an estranged ex-partner because there were insufficient systems in place for staff to deal with subject access requests (SAR).

The fallout in this case was huge distress to the family, damage to the organisation’s reputation and a £40,000 fine. It’s easy to imagine how bad the person responsible for dealing with subject access requests at the practice must feel. And yet such a devastating data breach could so easily have been avoided.

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The what, why and how of transferring data to the USA

By Steve Wood, Interim Deputy Commissioner.

horizonIt’s more than two years since a then little-known privacy campaigner decided to dispute Facebook’s compliance with EU data protection laws.

Max Schrems’ case would travel from Dublin to Luxembourg, and ultimately have ramifications from Stockholm to Silicon Valley.

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Public must act to protect themselves when using Internet of Things devices

By Simon Rice, Group Manager for Technology.


Is this creepy website live-streaming YOUR living room? That was the Daily Mail headline in 2014, highlighting a Russian website that was providing links to access internet-connected cameras around the world.

The story was prompted by an ICO blog that had warned that the website had been able to access webcams, CCTV and baby monitor cameras because they had not been made sufficiently secure.

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GDPR still relevant for the UK

By Steve Wood, Interim Deputy Commissioner.

gdpr-still-relevant-finalIt’s just a few weeks since we set out what guidance organisations could expect and when around a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was on track to come into force in the UK on 25 May 2018.

The result of the 23 June 2016 referendum on membership of the EU now means that the Government needs to consider the impact on the GDPR.

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Insolvency law – why rogue directors trying to avoid fines face a rocky ride

By Andy Curry, Enforcement Group Manager.


In my blog of April 25, I explained that of the 19 fines we’ve issued since April 2015, we’re still actively pursuing nine that have gone into liquidation or have not paid.

One of the nine being actively pursued is Reactiv Media Limited and I can today confirm that, along with other creditors, we voted to appoint insolvency practitioner Griffins to manage Reactiv Media Limited’s liquidation proceedings.

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Nuisance calls – the facts behind the headlines

By Andy Curry, Enforcement Group Manager.

newspaper-headlines-blogNuisance calls – and our action to stop them – are again in the headlines today. The government has moved to stop marketing companies from hiding behind ‘caller withheld’ numbers, while we’ve announced that we’ve issued more than £2million in fines over the past year.

But what are the facts behind those headlines? Continue reading

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Private investigator crackdown by ICO

By Damian Moran, Criminal Investigation Team manager.

private-investigator-300-220Private investigators suspected of unlawful practices will be surprised by doorstep visits by officers from the ICO this week.

The action by the ICO’s Criminal Investigation’s team follows intelligence we’ve gathered about the way private investigators (PIs) handle personal data.

The work of PIs involves obtaining, handling and reporting personal information. As such they must comply with the Data Protection Act and be registered as data controllers with the ICO.

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The view beyond the headline – considering the detail in the FOI Commission’s report

By Steve Wood, Head of Policy Delivery.

F-O-I-blog‘Victory for your right to know’ was the response of many commentators to the report of the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information, published last month.

There is certainly much to welcome in the report, least of all its conclusion “that the Act is generally working well, and that it has been one of a number of measures that have helped to change the culture of the public sector”.

But across the 64 pages and 21 recommendations there is a wealth of detailed comment on how the Act might be tweaked and shaped to improve its operation.

The Government has already responded to some of the recommendations and we look forward to discussing with them over the coming months.

In the meantime, we thought it might be useful to pick out a few key areas, particularly those that go beyond the previous post-legislative scrutiny report.

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Talked about marketing guidance gets update

By Steve Wood, Head of Policy Delivery.

Direct-marketing-guide-updatedLittle of the ICO’s work is more talked about than our regulation of marketing calls, texts and emails. From the Which? taskforce to the media investigations into charity fundraising, direct marketing is certainly a high profile subject.

More often than not, the focus is on our enforcement action against companies who flout the rules. That’s certainly the case today, as we issue another £225,000 of penalties to two companies in Swansea.

But while that remains in the headlines, it is our guidance on the law that proves so crucial to organisations. Today we’ve published an updated version, to ensure it can continue to enable organisations to understand how to comply with the law and follow good practice. Continue reading

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A data dozen to prepare for reform

By Steve Wood, Head of Policy Delivery.

gdpr-12-steps-to-take-nowManchester becomes the capital of UK data protection this week, with 800 data protection practitioners heading to our conference in the city. And for the delegates heading to the north-west, top of the agenda will be considering the impending implementation of the data protection reforms agreed last December.  The reforms encompass the General Data Protection Regulation, which will have direct effect, and a new Directive on data protection related to law enforcement.

The last pieces of work to finalise the texts continue apace, focused on translation and final legal checks. Once that happens, we’ll see final political agreement, hopefully around July and then a two year transition period to accustom ourselves to the new way of doing things.

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