Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance fined for breaching marketing laws

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued fines totalling £120,000 to EU referendum campaign group Leave.EU and insurance company Eldon Insurance for serious breaches of electronic marketing laws.

The ICO said it is also set to review how both are complying with data protection laws.

In a statement, the ICO investigation said that it found that Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance were closely linked. Systems for segregating the personal data of insurance customers’ from that of political subscribers’ were ineffective.

This, the ICO said, resulted in Leave.EU using Eldon Insurance customers’ details unlawfully to send almost 300,000 political marketing messages. Leave.EU has been fined £15,000 for this breach.

Eldon Insurance, which is owned by Brexit supporter Arron Banks, carried out two unlawful direct marketing campaigns, the ICO said. 

The campaigns involved the sending of over one million emails to Leave.EU subscribers without sufficient consent. Leave.EU has been fined £45,000 and Eldon Insurance has been fined £60,000 for the breach.

“It is deeply concerning that sensitive personal data gathered for political purposes was later used for insurance purposes; and vice versa”, said Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner. “It should never have happened.

“We have been told both organisations have made improvements and learned from these events. But the ICO will now audit the organisations to determine how they are using customers’ personal information.”

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