UK Brexiteer Banks's company fined over data breaches
UK Brexiteer Banks's company fined over data breaches
Getty Editorial Arron Banks firm and
09 November, 2018, 10:54
The United Kingdom's data watchdog has announced it would slap a fine on Banks's insurance company and the campaign that played a decisive role in the 2016 European Union membership referendum outcome in Britain.
Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance, a company owned by Arron Banks, the controversial funder of the Leave.EU campaign, who is now subject to criminal investigations, have been fined a total of £135,000 for breaching data privacy laws.
The ICO also intends to fine Leave.EU a further £15,000 for a "separate, serious breach" after nearly 300,000 emails were sent to Eldon Insurance customers containing a Leave.EU newsletter.
The Information Commissioner's Office issued a "notice of intent" warning of penalties after it said it found evidence that email addresses of Eldon Insurance customers were accessed by Leave.EU to send political marketing messages.
The ICO also warned that Leave.EU and the insurance company face fines of £60,000 each in relation to the sending of more than 1 million emails to Leave.EU subscribers which included GoSkippy marketing material.
Banks played down the announcement. He added: 'Gosh we communicated with our supporters and offered them a 10 per cent Brexit discount after the vote!
"The ICO find no evidence of a grand data conspiracy and find we may have accidentally sent a newsletter to customers", he said on Twitter.
Caption: FILE PHOTO: Gerry Gunster (L), a Washington-based strategist hired by the Leave.EU campaign, speaks as he sits with Arron Banks, a British businessman, during a Leave.EU news conference in central London, Britain November 18, 2015.
The Vote Leave campaign has been fined and reported to the police by the UK's elections regulator for deliberately falsifying its campaign expenses for the Brexit referendum.
Since then, Banks has faced questions about his tactics and finances in the referendum.
"We may never know whether individuals were unknowingly influenced to vote a certain way in either the UK EU referendum or in the U.S. election campaigns", she said.
Both Denham and her office's report indicated that the United Kingdom was at a cross-roads in terms of the use of data in political campaigning but warned that tighter regulation of tech firms was "quite controversial and the need to balance freedom of expression with the harms of the internet is hard", she told MPs.
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