BusinessCorporate FinanceICO fires data registration warning

ICO fires data registration warning

Firms face fines and prosecution if they don't register with the information commissioner under the terms of the Data protection Act

Firms were warned last year that if they did not register with the
information commissioner under the terms of the Data Protection Act, they faced
fines and prosecution.

No one can accuse the Information Commissioners’ Office of issuing empty
threats. This week, it fined a Leeds firm for failing to notify the ICO that
they processed client information electronically.

Acorn Accounting was fined £300 and ordered to pay a contribution towards
costs of £150 by Leeds Magistrates. In addition, its officers, Ashfaq Anjum,
Yusuf Badat and Asud Iqbal, also pleaded guilty to the offences under Section 17
of the Data Protection Act and were fined £200 each and ordered to pay
contributions of £150 costs

The sums may not seem terribly large, but they indicate that the ICO has
intent. Larger fines have been issued to solicitors in the past.

Last year, Ralph Harold Donner of solicitors Feld Mackay and Donner was fined
£3,150 and ordered to pay £3,500 towards prosecution costs for failure to
notify.

When the ICO raised the alarm last year, around 10,000 accountancy firms were
thought to have been tardy in not fulfilling the data protection requirements.
Recent figures suggest this that may have dropped slightly, but not
significantly.

The prosecution of a firm shows that the ICO is beginning to use the stick,
rather than gentle encouragement. ‘This prosecution will remind accountancy
firms of their obligations to notify and to ensure that

any personal information is held securely, is accurate, up-to-date and is
processed fairly,’ said ICO solicitor Philip Taylor.

Most organisations that hold personal data are required to notify the ICO
under the Data Protection Act. There are certain exemptions that exist for
bodies only processing personal data for staff administration, accounts,
advertising, marketing and public relations.

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