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High Court bans alleged data protection profiteer

Interim injunction ahead of trial judgement

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The High Court last week granted an interim injunction against Christopher Yewdall preventing him from profiting from allegedly misleadingly advertised data protection notification services.

The interim injunction was granted on Thursday (7 August) as a temporary measure pending a judgement in a lawsuit brought against Yewdall by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

It is alleged that Yewdall was involved with misleading advertisements relating to notification with the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998. The names used in the advertisements included: Data Protection Agency, Data Protection Agency Registrations, Data Protection Agency Services, National Registrations, Data Protection Registration and Data Protection Registration Services.

The OFT received thousands of complaints from businesses regarding to these adverts, which used return addresses all over the country.

According to the OFT, these adverts are misleading "because they give the impression they are from an official body, that businesses receiving them are under a legal obligation to register with the sender and that notification costs £95".

In fact, businesses who need to register under the Data Protection Act 1998 can do so with the Information Commissioner directly, for a fee of only £35.

The offending adverts also fail to properly explain that some small business who process personal data for limited purposes are exempt from notification under the 1998 Act.

The injunction prevents Yewdall from being involved in any way with certain types of advertising about data protection notification services. It also means he cannot accept payments in response to such advertising.

According to the OFT, Yewdall "consented" to the interim injunction being granted until full trial without making any admissions about the OFT's case.

In August 2002, Yewdall had given written assurances to the OFT that he would not be involved with such advertising again, a promise he has failed to keep, according to the OFT.

Welcoming the interim injunction, Penny Boys, OFT Executive Director, said: "The OFT has received thousands of complaints about this sort of misleading advertising.

"Businesses should contact the Information Commissioner if in any doubt about their obligations to notify under data protection legislation," she added.

Details of whether or not you are required to notify under the Data Protection Act 1998 are available on the Information Commissioner's Web site at dpr.gov.uk or you may telephone its Notification helpline on 01625 545740. ®

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