ICO ‘raids business in Chichester suspected of illegal pensions cold calls’

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said it searched a business premises in Chichester on Thursday (October 3) as part of an investigation into the making of nuisance calls related to pensions.

Friday, 4th October 2019, 7:26 pm

In a formal release to the press, the ICO stated: “A change in the law earlier this year made cold calls about pensions illegal in certain circumstances.”

David Clancy, ICO Enforcement Group Manager, said: “The law now offers greater protection for people troubled by cold calls about their hard-earned pensions. This includes a ban on certain types of calls being made in relation to pensions.”

The statement added: “The warrant, executed in the centre of the city, saw computer equipment and documents seized for analysis. The ICO’s investigation into the matter is ongoing.

“The newer, stricter rules on who can make a live marketing call in relation to pension schemes say:

• Calls can only be made by a person or firm authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, and

• Calls can only be made by the trustees or managers of a pension scheme to which the person being called is a member, or

• The person being called had previously consented to being called by that company.

“If a member of the public thinks they have received an unsolicited pensions call they can report the details to us on the ICO website. There is also advice for businesses about the rules on the ICO website.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications. There are specific rules on:

• marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;

• cookies (and similar technologies);

• keeping communications services secure; and

• customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.

The rules on live marketing calls relating to pensions are in regulation 21B.

The ICO aims to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. It will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.

The ICO has the power under PECR to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.

Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

To report a concern to the ICO, visit ico.org.uk/concerns.

This report was updated on October 4, 2019