Oh, look, yet another headline grabbing story for the ICO! What they don't tell you is that, for the overwhelming majority of complaints submitted to the ICO about direct marketing, most of them are a total waste of time. A combination of incompetent case officers and a policy of only taking action if they receive lots of complaints about the same company means that most companies can carry on regardless. For example, if Optical Express sent me the marketing and I complained, as long as that company stops sending me marketing the ICO will be happy. The company can carry on abusing the rights of thousands of others unless they too complain. And it's only when enough people complain that the ICO will think about doing anything.
This is a poor use of limited resources in my opinion. If I submit a complaint against a company and the ICO upholds my complaint then they should advise the company of their obligations, give them 30 days to contest the ICO's view, and warn them that any further similar complaints received after 30 days will result in criminal prosecution. Job done! And... the ICO needs to be prosecuting these companies so that we get some precedent because at the moment the Commissioner is just giving his own view. He needs to go to court and get a court ruling so that his guidance becomes law.
The fact remains that nearly every single company that I do business with will abuse my data protection rights in some way. It's an utter failure by the Commissioner.