ICO cracks down on data trading

A business and two homes in Macclesfield and Heald Green have been searched by ICO officers, as part of an investigation into the illegal trade of personal data.

The raids are connected to an ongoing investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office into hundreds of thousands of cold calls made to people to encourage them to make personal injury claims in relation to road traffic accidents.

Mike Shaw, enforcement group manager at the ICO, said, ‘We know lots of people get these calls suggesting they’ve had been involved in an accident, and wonder how the caller had their details.

‘The answer is that lists of people who’ve been involved in car accidents can be valuable leads to claims companies. That information is difficult to come by, even for the more disreputable firms, so data on people who’ve simply had their vehicles repaired is still prized, even though many of those people won’t have been involved in any accident.

‘The trade of personal details to nuisance call firms is a nationwide problem and one we’re determined to crack down on. Today’s raids are part of an ongoing ICO investigation focused on the North West. We know where some of this information is coming from, but we want to better understand how it’s being obtained and shared with lead generation businesses. I would encourage anyone with any information regarding the illegal trade in personal data to contact the ICO and share that information with us.’

The raid was prompted by various sources of intelligence gathered by the ICO, including the reporting of nuisance calls.

Commenting on the news, Jason Moseley, director of RMI Bodyshops (NAB/VBRA), said, ‘We are pleased to hear that investigations into the illegal trade of motorists personal data are proving successful.

‘RMI Bodyshops has been actively involved in supporting the work of the ICO to tackle cold calls to motorists encouraging them to make personal injury claims.

‘We are committed to helping eradicate this type of behaviour which is tarnishing our sectors reputation. RMI Bodyshops members recognise the importance of ensuring motorists details remain confidential and we will continue to protect our members reputations by doing whatever it takes to prevent and stop this behaviour.’