£185k in fines rain down on dodgy PIs and claims firm for illegal data slurp

Adjust for THIS loss, says court as it hands out record penalty

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A firm of loss adjusters and two rogue private investigators it hired have been given record fines in the UK for illegal trade in personal information.

Two PIs obtained a person's financial details, including bank transactions, and handed it over to Kent-based loss adjusters Woodgate & Clark, which then passed it to an insurer client.

After being convicted at Maidstone Crown Court last month of unlawfully disclosing personal data, the biz has been fined £50,000.

Meanwhile, the firm's director, Michael Woodgate, was fined £75,000 having been found guilty of two counts of unlawfully obtaining personal data and two counts of unlawfully disclosing personal data.

Senior loss adjuster Colum Tudball was fined £30,000 for two counts of unlawfully obtaining personal data.

One of the PIs, Daniel Summers, was fined £20,000, while the other, Adam John Spears, was fined £10,000.

All but Spears were also ordered to pay costs of £20,000; Spears' charge was £2,500.

The case was part of the ICO's investigation into corporate use of dodgy PIs, and the resulting fines are the highest ever for such offences.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: "The illegal trade in personal information is not only a criminal offence but a serious erosion of the privacy rights of UK citizens.

"As well as these record fines, the organisations and individuals involved also face serious reputational damage as a result of being prosecuted by the ICO." ®

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