UK – The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined the Conservative Party £ 10,000 for violating direct marketing email rules.
The ICO examined emails sent by the Conservatives on behalf of Boris Johnson in the eight days after he took office in July 2019.
The ICO concluded that 51 emails were sent to people who did not want to receive them. The emails were addressed by name and promoted the political goals of the party.
The investigation found that the Conservatives failed to keep clear records of the basis on which individuals consented to receive marketing emails as required by law.
The Conservatives sent nearly 1.2 million emails between July 24 and July 31, 2019, and the ICO was unable to determine which proportion was validly sent.
The ICO concluded that the party did not have the necessary valid consent for the 51 marketing emails the complainants received. The party also failed to ensure that the records of those who unsubscribed from their marketing emails were properly transferred when they switched email providers.
Almost 23 million emails were also sent by the Conservatives in the 2019 general election, leading to another 95 complaints to the ICO. The ICO said the complaints were likely due to the party failing to address the original compliance issues identified in July 2019.
Stephen Eckersley, director of the investigation, said: “In a healthy democracy it is important to send messages to potential voters, but political parties must comply with the law in doing so. The Conservative Party should have known, but it did not obey the law.
“All organizations – be they political parties, corporations or others – should give people clear information and decisions about what happens to their personal data. The direct marketing laws are clear and it is the responsibility of all organizations to ensure that they comply. “
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “We have accepted this fine from the ICO. Since then we have checked and improved our processes and fully comply with all applicable laws on data protection and electronic marketing. “