ICO Reveals Record Number Of Data Complaints

Leading Lawyer Says Data Protection Fines Are Only Likely To Go One Way And That is Up

17.07.2014

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

The UK's Information Commissioner has announced in its annual report that it dealt with a record number of data complaints last year.

The report, which was published on 15 July, revealed that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) resolved 15,492 data protection complaints in the last financial year - a 10% rise on the previous 12 months.

In the past year, the ICO said that it had also issued almost £2m in penalties to companies found to breach the Data Protection Act.

The latest report comes ahead of plans by the European Commission to unify data protection laws within the European Union with a single law - the Data Protection Regulation.

The far-reaching regulation is expected to be agreed this year and will include stricter rules on when personal data can be used by a business, what information it has to give individuals and compulsory notification of any data loss to the Information Commissioner within 24 hours. It also includes the controversial right to be forgotten. If businesses fail to meet the more stringent rules then the ICO will have greater powers to fine companies which breach the rules and can levy fines of up to 2% of global turnover.

Joanne Bone from national law firm Irwin Mitchell said:

Expert Opinion
It is not surprising to see that complaints in relation to data protection rules increased last year. The use of personal data in this era of “big data” is becoming more prolific and whilst some businesses understand the data protection rules, many do not. There are new hard-hitting regulations around the corner and so it is vital that business familiarise themselves now with their responsibilities and ensure they have the right policies in place. If they don’t then the fines this year just be a taste of what is to come.

“The new powers could see organisations being fined up to 2% of global turnover and businesses must sit up and take notice as a punishment of this level will have a huge impact and could affect its future viability.”
Joanne Bone, Partner