Organisations are learning the hard way what the consequences of handling personal information are, the Information Commissioner warned at the launch of the ICO’s 2011/12 Annual Report on 5 July.
The Commissioner’s comments came as the ICO imposed a civil monetary penalty (CMP) of £150,000 on the consumer lender Welcome Financial Services Limited (WFSL), after the loss of more than half a million customers’ details.
The latest penalty means that, since being given the power to issue CMPs from 6 April 2010, the ICO has issued 21 penalty notices, bringing the total value of the penalties issued by the ICO to over £2 million.
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said:
“Over the past year the ICO has bared its teeth and has taken effective action to punish organisations, many of which have shown a cavalier attitude to looking after people’s personal information.
“We hope these penalties send a clear message to both the public and private sectors that they cannot afford to fail when it comes to handling people’s data correctly.”
While figures from the latest report show a slight drop in the number of data protection complaints referred to the ICO, there was a 43% rise in the number of complaints relating to electronic marketing, highlighting the public’s growing concern about unsolicited marketing calls and texts. The number of FOI complaints received by the ICO also increased by 7% during the past 12 months.
Further information can be found in the full copy and summary versions of the ICO Annual Report which are available on the ICO website. To learn about more fines issued by the ICO this year just read our AMI news page or sign up to our update list.