Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

UK Brexit campaign leave EU fined for unlawful marketing

Fish industry leaders have warned over a no-deal Brexit More Fish industry leaders have warned over a no-deal Brexit More
Jeannette Daniel | 03 February, 2019, 17:07

In the United Kingdom, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is to audit the data protection practices at pro-Brexit campaigning group Leave.EU and at Eldon Insurance, the company owned by Leave.EU co-founder Arron Banks, after fining both £120k for "serious breaches" of electronic marketing laws.

It said Leave.EU, of which Bank is a co-founder, used Eldon Insurance customers' personal information to send close to 300,000 political marketing messages, resulting in a fine of £15,000.

European Union and Eldon Insurance were closely linked.

In addition to the £45,000 fine for that breach, Leave.EU was also fined £15,000 for "using Eldon Insurance customers' details unlawfully to send nearly 300,000 political marketing messages".

The assessment notices allow the ICO access to Leave.EU and Eldon's joint offices, staff, and documentation.

Eldon Insurance, which is owned by Brexit supporter Arron Banks, carried out two unlawful direct marketing campaigns, the ICO said.

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When questioned about the consent, Leave.EU tried to argue they weren't unsolicited emails because subscribers had agreed to receive newsletters, and a privacy policy referred to information from third parties. Leave.EU has been fined 45,000 pounds and Eldon Insurance has been fined 60,000 pounds for the breach.

The report says more than a million emails sent to Leave.EU subscribers contained marketing for the Eldon Insurance firm's GoSkippy services.

Andy Wigmore, spokesperson for Eldon Insurance, told Insurance Age that he was "disappointed but not surprised in the ICO statement this morning which we will be appealing through the courts".

It added that although systems to segregate personal data of insurance customers and political subscribers were in place, they were ineffective and not fit for goal. "It should never have happened", said Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. "But the ICO will now audit the organisations to determine how they are using customers' personal information".

The watchdog will also be interviewing the directors, staff and data protection officers at both organisations.

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