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Current News Updates

PL&B UK E-news, Issue 41

25 January, 2006
© Privacy Laws & Business 2007

  1. Businessman awarded damages in e-mail spam case
  2. Private detective found guilty
  3. Skip reveals credit card details of guests at five-star hotel
  4. ICO accuses Bournemouth Borough Council of negligence
  5. David Smith takes up post as new Deputy Commissioner
  6. Barclays Bank promotes security software as part of its online service
  7. Department for Constitutional Affairs launches new information rights journal

1. Businessman awarded damages in e-mail spam case

Nigel Roberts, from Alderney in the Channel Islands, took action against Stirlingshire-based firm Media Logistics UK, over junk emails promoting a contract car firm and a fax broadcasting business, which were sent to his personal account. He was awarded damages of ÂŁ270, in what represents perhaps a small, but significant, victory against spammers. The EU passed an anti-spam law three years ago, the directive on privacy and telecommunications, which gave individuals the right to object against unwanted email intrusions.


2. Private detective found guilty

A private detective has been prosecuted by the Information Commissioner’s Office under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. He pleaded guilty to unlawfully disclosing personal data. On January 12, he was given a one-year conditional discharge, and he was ordered to pay costs of £1,200 by Croydon Magistrates. Private Detective David Sibley, of West Wickham, Kent, had disclosed information relating to an individual’s bank account details.

For more information, see:

3. Skip reveals credit card details of guests at five-star hotel

Brighton’s five-star Grand Hotel, owned by the De Vere Group, has been forced to issue a grovelling apology, after staff threw thousands of customers’ credit cards details into a skip. Details of customers who had stayed at the hotel between 1998 and 2003 were found in the skip at the beginning of January. ID fraud expert Professor Martin Gill of the University of Leicester, told The Guardian: “ … combined with home addresses and phone numbers, they could help ID thieves to accumulate the sort of information required to pull off a really meaningful theft.”


4. ICO accuses Bournemouth Borough Council of negligence

Documents containing personal information relating to over 70 people were found dumped outside an old council building in Bournemouth earlier this month. The information included names, addresses, telephone numbers, and even divorce papers and photocopies of passports. Passers-by found the papers on the floor in the back porch of the old Register Office. “It would appear that Bournemouth Borough Council has been negligent in safely disposing documents which contain important personal information about individuals,” said Jonathan Bamford, Assistant Commissioner for the ICO.

5. David Smith takes up post as new Deputy Commissioner

On January 16, David Smith took up his post as the new Deputy Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office, in Wilmslow, Cheshire. He said that he would be focusing particularly on delivering clear, straightforward guidance, and promoting debate on the risks of a surveillance society. He will also be assessing priorities for regulation, and working with the new cabinet committee on data sharing. David Smith joined the ICO as Assistant Commissioner in 1990.

There will be an interview with David Smith in the March edition of the PL&B UK Newsletter.

6. Barclays promotes security software as part of its online service

Barclays’ online banking site is enabling customers to download security software, such as traditional anti-virus products, and anti-spyware protection, at a price which represents approximately a 30% discount on the retail price. David Mitchell, Senior Operations Manager at the bank, said that it is important to restore confidence in online transactions. He said: “When it comes to online banking, this means not just ensuring that our own processes are completely secure but also that the customer’s own PC is protected, so the whole transaction is totally safe.” Some proponents of such schemes claim that banks could in fact absorb the costs of a 100% subsidy as a result of the savings they would make from a reduction in identity theft.


7. Department for Constitutional Affairs launches new information rights journal

Information rights practitioners, who need up-to-date information on the latest developments in data protection, freedom of information, and the environmental regulations, may be interested in a new information rights journal launched by the Department for Constitutional Affairs. It will be published six times a year, and it will cover emerging case law from the decisions of the Information Commissioner and Tribunal.

To download an issue, and to register, visit:


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