back to article UK's ICO slaps £120k fines on Arron Banks' insurance biz and Leave.EU campaign

The Leave.EU campaign and Brexiteer Arron Banks' insurance biz Eldon have been fined a total of £120,000 for dodging direct marketing rules. The companies came under the scrutiny of data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office during its long-running investigation into the use of personal data in political …

  1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Devil

    David Cameron sent me a misleading and biased spam leaflet before the referendum spending rules came in, with my own tax money being used to pay for it. Can i have him fined too for abusing my opt out to spam mail?

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      It was probably an accident - I don't think Cameron was doing anything during the Referendum campaign expect planning his vacation in France afterwards.

    2. grizzly

      I think you'll find, the way things are going, the only way this leaflet was "misleading and biased" is in how it toned-down the consequences of Brexit.

      The remain campaign have not been convicted of breaking the law. Not for breaking electoral law, nor for breaking direct market rules. Anyone can dispute this by contacting the Electoral Commission and the ICO. Nobody has because the remain camp weren't devoid of ethics and veracity during the referendum campaign.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        RE: Grizzly

        "Nobody has because the remain camp weren't devoid of ethics and veracity during the referendum campaign"

        You don't consider lying and threatening voters to be bad ethics? What about having the head of the CBI sacked because he has a different personal opinion? Punishment budgets? Lying about an EU Army. Fucking remainers and their selective memories. Go ahead, vote me down.

    3. Naich

      Read it

      This is the leaflet in PDF form:

      https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/515068/why-the-government-believes-that-voting-to-remain-in-the-european-union-is-the-best-decision-for-the-uk.pdf

      Looking at it now, it seems very reasonable and understated.

  2. pig

    "When questioned about the consent, Leave.EU tried to argue they weren't unsolicited emails because subscribers had agreed to receive newsletters, and a privacy policy referred to information from third parties.

    However, this policy ... did not say who the third parties were, or what type of marketing they might receive."

    I can't think of ANY policy I have read that lists the 3rd party companies or the type of marketing. They all just refer to 'partners, 3rd party companies may send you stuff we think is good' (paraphrasing obviously)

    If they used that criteria 99.9% of firms would be guilty.

    Combined with receiving no customer complaints this does indeed look rather unfair.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not sufficiently detailed in order for informed consent to be formed (either list the companies, or give details about what marketing material you'll get, e.g. "products related to the ones you've bought").

  3. nsld

    No Complaints?

    I seem to recall Carole Caddwalladr writing about the use of her personal data by Eldon/Banks/Leave EU and a complaint to the ICO

    1. Sykowasp

      Re: No Complaints?

      Yes, she did. If that doesn't count as a complaint then what does?

      Also her data got into their systems from using an insurance price comparison tool, so how she ever gave permission to the terms and conditions supposedly applied is beyond me.

      This is a very small fine, especially if they did abuse data received for price comparison purposes only.

    2. An nonymous Cowerd

      Re: No Complaints?

      The Guardian's Carole Cadwalladr listed as a speaker at one of the Integrity Initiative events . . . complained about something, was she amplifying covertly or was it something that she really believed in, I'm hopelessly lost with all the psyop nudge allegations

  4. Charles Smith

    A whiff of Sulphur

    Here we go, the Establishment striking back against Brexit "terrorists".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A whiff of Sulphur

      Ohhh, Brexit Terrorist, I like that.

      Does this mean everyone who voted leave will be labelled a Terrorist, and actively hunted/prosecuted as a Terrorist?

      Sounds like there might be a positive side to this Brexit issue after all..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A whiff of Sulphur

        No, just an ignorant xenophobe.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A whiff of Sulphur

        > Does this mean everyone who voted leave will be labelled a Terrorist, and actively hunted/prosecuted as a Terrorist?

        The current mess is not the fault of the people who voted leave. The whole point of plebiscites is to obtain info.

        The problem people are the ones who then took a ~50/50 result then proceeded to it use it as an excuse to destroy the country. Regardless of damage caused to the (large qty) of population it will have a negative impact on. Then sticking their head in the sand when the obvious conclusion and backlash to their idiocy became even more apparent.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A whiff of Sulphur

      I disagree. I think that the Establishment is quite happy with Brexit. They will be able to carry on how they used to, without Brussels poking its nose in and asking awkward questions, or imposing inconvenient regulations, say around money laundering, or financial misconduct.

      I see this as more a case of the Establishment striking back against someone who is not a member of the Establishment. The idea that non-politicians like him might be able to influence British politics must terrify them.

      Alternatively, he broke the law, was found to have broken the law, and is being punished for breaking the law.

      1. devTrail

        Re: A whiff of Sulphur

        I disagree. I think that the Establishment is quite happy with Brexit.

        I think it is much worse. The way the media handled Brexit is really ambiguous, before the vote they had a tone, after the vote they suddenly changed their tone. Don't forget that mainstream media is not free and from them you can guess the will of the Establishment.

        I think that the atmosphere of uncertainty was carefully built over time and the Establishment is quite happy with the UK with one step in and one step out acting as a wedge to break the unity of the EU group.

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: A whiff of Sulphur

      Maybe its just the law striking back against unlawful behaviour? Damn those nasty data privacy regulations!

      And just maybe you are using dog whistles like Establishment and Terrorists to make it "them and us" when in reality it was just a bunch of numptys who didn't respect data privacy laws.

      Classic trollish behaviour sir. just not sure if you are commentarding for El Reg shits and giggles (which is ok) or you do this semi-professionally to keep the anger quotient high (which just makes you a 1 man daily mail).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shady Spiv's Company Does Shady Shit Shocker

    All will be forgiven by the Brexit masses.

    Hard-core Brexiteers could come home to find Farage, Banks and chums had disinterred the family pooch and were happily abusing its remain in their front room and they'd still forgive them.

    "Lovely blokes! Carry on you cheeky chaps! Give Fido one for Sovereignty!!! That's sticking it to The Elites!!!"

  6. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    What's the point ?

    I appreciate that this is mostly about misuse of personal information, but there's also an element of voting fraud by misleading the public.

    What's the point of fining them for that ? Fining them doesn't correct that result, nor does it stand much chance of discouraging future behaviour - It's small beer compared with actual campaign costs and can easily be considered part of the cost of obtaining the result they wanted.

    It needs prison sentences, banning from future political activity, a corrective information campaign and a rerun of the vote.

    1. Rol Silver badge

      Re: What's the point ?

      You are absolutely right.

      Taking back control is only a reality for those with the money. Once us plebs are locked back into cinema bastardos, where the management gets to regulate as it wants, the price gouging will start.

      I predict inflation will hit double figures before this year is out, which is exactly what businessmen like Aaron are clamouring for - the opportunity to double his wealth in a volatile market and not have to disclose his vicarious tax shenanigans in London's extended island depositories.

      If the EU hadn't been trying to kick the door in to some of the world's most notorious tax havens, we would never had heard a squeak about leaving the EU.

      It's all about Britain's wealthiest wanting to remain beyond the reach of EU law, and they don't care if the UK is ultimately classed alongside the likes of North Korea and banned from financial markets EU wide.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's the point ?

        "If the EU hadn't been trying to kick the door in to some of the world's most notorious tax havens, we would never had heard a squeak about leaving the EU."

        Exactly this. The UK must crash out of the EU before 1/4/2019 to save all that (literally) filthy lucre from prying EU eyes. Job done. Game set and match to the Brexit Elite. They played the voters like banjos,

  7. SVV Silver badge

    Light slap on the wrist

    Of course, it is the company being fined rather than Mr Banks himself, and the fine will become a business cost and count against future corporation tax liabilities so will in fact be no kind of painful punishment at all really for him. Rather, he will see it as a cheap bargain for getting to spread falsehoods in order to help achieve his political preferences. One could make arguments for personal fines for directors or bans on holding directorships as being apropriate punishment for behaviour such as this. The fact that the impending chaos will have been partially funded by people choosing to buy insurance from something called GoSkippy says something very profound about modern Britain.

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