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Data watchdog jacks up charges

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From today large companies that collect or process personal data must pay £500 to register with the Information Commissioner's Office.

The heavily increased annual charge applies to firms with a turnover of more than £25.9m and 250 or more employees. Public sector organisations with 250 or more staff must also pay.

Smaller outfits will still be charged £35 per year, which previously applied to all data controllers.

The new two-tiered charging structure was waved through by the government in July and its estimated will affect about four per cent of data contollers. Failure to register is a criminal offence punishable by an unlimited fine.

The Information Commissioner asked for an increase to cover what it said was the true administrative cost of regulating large firms. Fees hadn't been increased since the Data Protection Act came into force in 2000.

The register of data controllers and further information are here. ®

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