ICO seeks information from 400 online gambling companies over spam texts

By Caroline Watson
The Information Commissioner’s Office has warned 400 online gambling operators it believes are using personal data to promote their websites. The ICO is demanding these companies explain how they obtained people’s personal information, as well as the number of spam texts they are sending out to promote themselves.

This campaign forms part of the ICO’s investigation into the unreasonable amount of spam texts issued forth by the gambling sector’s affiliate marketing efforts. What remains unclear is who the data controller in such a configuration is.

The ICO laments how this sometimes leads to “a situation where neither party is taking any responsibility for complying with the rules”.

ICO’s anti-spam investigations manager, David Clancy says: “Companies must comply with the law when using people’s personal information. Not knowing the law or trying to pass the buck to another company in the chain is no excuse.

“The public expect firms to be accountable for how they obtain and use personal data when marketing by phone, email or text. Fail to be accountable and you could be breaking the law, risking ICO enforcement action and the future of your business.”

Such failures to comply can result in enforcement action from the data cops, which can extend to a £500,000 fine.


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