ICO fines Vote Leave £40,000 for sending unlawful text messages

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Vote Leave Limited £40,000 for sending out thousands of unsolicited text messages in the run up to the 2016 EU referendum. An ICO investigation found that Vote Leave sent 196,154 text messages promoting the aims of the Leave campaign with the majority containing a link to its website. The investigation also found that Vote Leave was unable to provide evidence that the people who received the messages had given their consent; a key requirement of electronic marketing law. ICO Director of Investigations, Steve…

Building the ICO’s auditing framework for Artificial Intelligence

Simon McDougall, Executive Director for Technology Policy and Innovation, invites comment from organisations on the development of an auditing framework for AI. Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are starting to permeate many aspects of our lives. I see new and innovative uses of this technology every day: in health care, recruitment, commerce . . . the list goes on and on. We know the benefits that AI can bring to organisations and individuals. But there are risks too. And that’s what I want to talk about in this blog post.  The General Data…

Two Birmingham workers fined for data protection breaches

Employees could face a criminal prosecution if they access or share personal data without a valid reason, the Information Commissioner’s Office has warned. The warning came after Birmingham Magistrates’ Court fined two workers in separate cases for breaching data protection laws. Faye Caughey, 32, of Ringswood Road, Solihull was employed at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) when she unlawfully accessed the personal records of 14 individuals between February 2017 and August 2017. The Court heard that as part of her job, Ms Caughey was authorised to access…

Crypto Mogul Moshe Hogeg’s ICOs Have Unusual Patterns, Analysis Finds

Best-known internationally as the chief executive of the blockchain smartphone startup Sirin Labs, Moshe Hogeg is becoming known for something else in Israel – mounting lawsuits. As reported extensively by regional news outlets, a lawsuit filed in January claims Hogeg misappropriated funds from the sale of new cryptocurrencies for both his own gain and to benefit his investment portfolio, including Sirin Labs. The judge has reportedly given Hogeg until March 15 to settle with the plaintiff, Chinese investor Zhewen Hu. This follows an earlier case involving Hogeg’s company Invest.com that…

Thailand’s Securities Watchdog Approves Country’s First ICO Portal

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given the green light to the country’s first portal for scrutinized initial coin offerings (ICOs). As reported by Bangkok Post on Wednesday, the decision was made by the SEC’s board of directors and now needs final approval from other government bodies such as the Ministry of Commerce, according to the agency’s director of fintech, Archari Suppiroj. The portal is being developed to protect investors by scrutinizing ICOs and auditing their smart contracts, as well as countering financial crimes by ensuring sound know-your-customer processes. Suppiroj further told the Post…

Blog: Adtech fact finding forum shows consensus on need for change

There’s a well-quoted line from Steve Jobs, that as Apple CEO he didn’t employ smart people to tell them what to do, but so that they could tell him what to do. It was a line that came to mind as I looked round the busy room yesterday at the ICO’s adtech fact finding forum. We had more than a hundred people with something to say about adtech, from publishers to advertisers, from civil society to start-ups, from adtech firms to lawyers. As the regulator, I’m delighted we could bring…

Blog: Why the right of access to patient data needn’t be a headache for GPs

7 March 2019 A patient’s right to access their own medical records from their GP is a long-established principle supported and strengthened by data protection law, most recently the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under the updated data protection regime a patient’s request to access their records (commonly known as a subject access request (SAR) must now be processed free of charge and within one month. Requests on the rise Medical practices have reported a significant rise in SARs since the GDPR came into effect in May last year, which…

ICO crackdown on nuisance calls reaches 100-year milestone

Investigations by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) into nuisance marketing have resulted in 16 company directors being banned from running a company for more than 100 years in total. The latest ban, issued by the Insolvency Service, is effective from 1 March 2019 and disqualifies one of the worst offenders the ICO has seen since the laws were introduced 15 years ago. Richard Jones, 31, of Carmarthen, South Wales has been barred from being a company director for eight years after his two companies, Your Money Rights Ltd and Miss-Sold Products…

Security Token Startup Templum Shifts to Private Blockchains

Security token specialist Templum is shifting from public to private blockchains. Announced Monday, enterprise software vendor Symbiont is building a private blockchain and smart contracts system that Templum will use for future security token offerings (STOs) by its clients. Previously, the regulated broker-dealer left the choice of blockchain protocol up to the issuers, but this posed problems, Templum CEO Christopher Pallotta told CoinDesk. Many were choosing ERC-20 tokens that run on top of ethereum, said Pallotta, but that network’s well-known scaling challenges meant trading could be hampered during periods of high transaction…

Brazilian Bank Aims to Raise $15 Million Through Security Token Offering

A Brazilian investment bank is planning to raise millions of dollars through the offering of a security token. In an announcement Thursday, Banco BTG Pactual said it will back its blockchain-based token with distressed Brazilian real estate assets, with the expectation of raising up to $15 million. It will also establish a secondary market following the sale in order to provide liquidity to the tokens. The offering will allow investors to invest in the Brazilian real estate market and, based on the performance of the tied assets, receive periodic profits. International investors will be…