ICO raids Welsh claims management firm over nuisance text alerts

Spam email

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has raided a Welsh claims management call centre for allegedly assisting with the distribution of spam text messages.

The unnamed business has been linked to the distribution of more than six million nuisance text messages, and had documents and a server seized during the raid for examination.

The data protection watchdog said it's keen to ascertain where the company acquired the data needed to distribute the messages, and whether it's been sold on to other third parties.

Depending on what the ICO uncovers from the items, the business could face enforcement action to encourage it to comply with the rules governing text-based marketing.

The ICO raid was reportedly prompted by intelligence passed on to the organisation from the Ministry of Justice Claims Management Regulation Unit (CMRU).

Firms that use text alerts for marketing purposes must tread carefully to avoid falling foul of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, which the ICO enforces.

For example, companies are not allowed to send individuals marketing text messages if they haven't agreed to receive them.

Anne Jones, assistant commissioner for Wales, said the messages have annoyed thousands of people, which is why it's had to act.

"Thanks to this raid we have seized information that will enable us to identify where this organisation are sourcing their data and prevent them from selling it to third parties," she said.

"The rules on sending text messages are clear, and if the evidence proves the law has been broken we will act."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.