£7million In Unpaid ICO Fines

A recent Freedom of Information (FoI) request submitted to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) by The SMS Works, has revealed that two fifths of ICO fines remain unpaid. 

Sine 2015, the ICO has fined 163 organisations for data breaches, spam and nuisance calls, culminating to a total amount of £16.6million in fines. £7million of which is still outstanding. 

These fines were all raised prior to the introduction of GDPR, so the organisations were only able to receive a fine of up to £500,000.  

Unsurprisingly, the main culprits for the non-payment of fines are those in the claims management sector.  

Companies who make a living out of cold calling people over the years, make up for 84% of unpaid fines. This can be as a result of the companies going bankrupt avoiding payment. 

In comparison, charities and public sector organisations have paid 100% of the fines levied against them. 

By category, the ICO has only collected 23% of nuisance calls fines, 64% of email spam fines and 74% for SMS spam. When it comes to data breaches, 85% of fines have been paid. 

Moving forward changes to the law will hopefully make it harder for those in charge of companies to escape accountability for their misdemeanours. 

A statement from the ICO read: 

We actively exercise our rights as a creditor to appoint professional insolvency practitioners, and work closely with the Insolvency service in these cases, to not only seek to recover the money owed to the taxpayer, but also to support action to disqualify the worst offenders from running companies in the future. 

“Some nuisance call directors liquidate their firms to avoid paying fines from the ICO. In December 2018, the law changed to make directors themselves responsible for nuisance marketing. This should have a real deterrent effect on those who deliberately set out to disrupt people with troublesome calls, texts and emails.”