Security

UK data watchdog raids companies suspected of 11 million nuisance texts

Computers and documents in the bag, please

By Kat Hall

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The Information Commissioner's Office has raided two companies thought to be behind 11 millions nuisance texts sent to the public.

Computer equipment and documents were seized for analysis at two Greater Manchester-based premises of the unnamed entities, the ICO said.

The perpetrators are understood to have sent the text messages to UK mobile numbers between January 2017 and January 2018. As a result the ICO received 3,297 separate complaints.

The text messages mainly promoted financial management services such as pensions, loans and claims for issues such as PPI and flight cancellations. The recipients were unable to identify who the texts were from or opt out of them, which is also against the law.

Andy Curry, the ICO's enforcement group manager, said:

"Nuisance text messages like this are a real problem for people as seen in the number of complaints we have received in this case alone. Businesses and individuals who carry out this type of marketing should be assured that we will carry out thorough investigations and take tough action against them where necessary.

He hoped the "existing evidence", along with that seized in the raids, would stop the businesses activities, "and act as a deterrent to others."

In 2017, the ICO issued 29 civil monetary penalties totalling £2.8m. The largest penalty – of £400,000 – was against Keurboom Communications Ltd for making over 99 million unlawful automated marketing calls.

However, nuisance calls remains a scourge of the UK populace, totalling 3.9 billion last year. That was something the ICO recently gave itself a pat on the back for, having brought it down from 4.8 billion in 2015.

Still, that's a few more doors to kick in. ®

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