Published: Sun, February 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Kingdom data watchdog hits Brexit campaign group with fine for unlawful marketing

United Kingdom data watchdog hits Brexit campaign group with fine for unlawful marketing

The U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office fined Brexit supporting campaign Leave.EU and a linked insurance company 120,000 pounds ($156,000) for serious breaches of electronic marketing laws as it opens a probe into how both are complying with data-protection rules.

Last November, the ICO said it meant to fine the two companies, which it had determined were closely linked with "ineffective" systems for segregating the data of insurance clients from that of political subscribers.

Last summer, Banks, a major donor for Leave.EU, informed an MPs committee that nobody worked across both Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance - a statement that was later changed to outline that staff could be transferred on short-term contracts.

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 objective.

This allegedly resulted in Leave.EU using customer details from Eldon to send out political marketing messages - around 300,000 of them - for which it has now picked up a £15,000 fine.

PM 'continuing to work' on Brexit deal ahead of vote
European Union leaders have so far expressed an unwillingness to reconsider opening up the withdrawal agreement. He added: "But if we are able to make progress sooner, then that might not be necessary".

In addition, Leave.EU has been fined £45,000 and Eldon Insurance £60,000 in relation to the sending of more than one million emails to Leave.EU subscribers, including Go Skippy marketing material, without sufficient consent.

The companies came under the scrutiny of data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office during its long-running investigation into the use of personal data in political campaigns. "It should never have happened", said Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. Leave.EU has been fined £15,000 for this breach. That same incident earned Eldon Insurance a £60,000 fine.

Leave.EU said it was a "politically motivated attack against our involvement in Brexit". Key employees will also be interviewed and the findings will be made public once work concludes.

He said: "Gosh we communicated with our supporters and offered them a ten per cent Brexit discount after the vote!"

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