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Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
18th May 2022 Issue no. 607

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Blaggers prosecuted following ICO criminal investigation

One of the most complex criminal investigations the Information Commissioner's Office has ever undertaken was brought to a close in April, as the last person behind a company that tricked organisations into revealing personal information about hundreds of individuals was successfully prosecuted under the DPA.

The investigation focused on the activities of a tracing agency called ICU Investigations Limited. The company was run by Barry Spencer and Adrian Stanton and worked on behalf of clients to trace individuals, primarily for the purpose of debt recovery.

Evidence obtained by the ICO showed that the company had routinely tricked organisations including utility companies, GP surgeries and TV Licensing into revealing personal data, often by claiming to be the individuals they were trying to trace. The company's clients were unaware of the offences as the information obtained could typically have been acquired legitimately. In total, our office discovered that the company was responsible for 2,000 separate data protection offences between 1 April 2009 and 12 May 2010.

On 25 April, a judge ordered Barry Spencer to pay penalties totalling over £89,000 for unlawfully obtaining personal information in breach of section 55 of the DPA. He will face a period of 20 months in prison if he fails to pay and has been disqualified from being a director for eight years.

At an earlier hearing on 24 January, Adrian Stanton and five other employees of the company were fined a total of £18,500 and ordered to pay £15,607 prosecution costs. The company was also found guilty as a separate defendant and ordered to pay a nominal £100 fine.

28th May 2014

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