You are here

Information Commissioner vows to clamp down on CTPS offenders

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) hopes to introduce a 'Stop Now' power to deal with businesses that are continually in breach of the CTPS. In effect offending businesses will have to immediately cease the activity which caused the 'Stop Now' notice to be issued. This notice has to be approved by the courts before it is issued to individual companies.

David Smith, deputy information commissioner, comments on the flaws with the current system, “the ICO enforce's a notice which companies can appeal against and while it's in process they continue [to commit the offences]. Purposefully they drag out the proceedings for as long as possible and then when it finally comes to it they close down and set up under another name. We need to improve this process.”

The power was introduced late last year to enforce compliance amongst businesses flouting consumer-focused TPS regulations.

The ICO is determined to extend this to the CTPS early this year.

Smith's main concern with regards the CTPS is that some companies are complying while others are not, which is leading to a wider attitude of 'why should we bother if company x isn't?'

This move is part of a wider ICO enforcement strategy, which targets organisations that deliberately or persistently ignore their obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998.

In June last year the office set up a Regulation Action Division comprising of 20 people and in December it unveiled its Regulatory Action Strategy.

Smith comments, “We know that people comply when they come under pressure – now when there are breaches they will come under pressure much more quickly.”

The ICO provides simple guidance and a free online audit manual where businesses can put their data compliance to the test.