ICO issues fines worth £42m in 2020

Last year the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) dished out fines worth over £42 million across 16 companies.

The fines included both breaches of the Data Protection Act (DPA) and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR.)

Companies hit with the biggest fines include British Airways, which received a penalty of £20 million in October, and Marriott International, which was hit with a £18.4 million fine during the same month. Both businesses were fined for breaching the DPA.

Ticketmaster was the next largest, with a fine of £1.25 million for data breaches in November.

DSG Retail, CRDNN, and Cathay Pacific all received fines totalling £500,000.

Marketing was the industry hit with the biggest fines, with nine penalties issued in total. There were three fines issued to firms in the transport and leisure sector.

There were also three court orders for winding-up upon ICO petitions last year. Trusted Futures got a £70,000 penalty, Superior Style Home Improvements got a £150,000 fine, and Alistair Green Legal Services had to pay out £90,000.

Eight directors were disqualified following ICO enforcement action.

"In today’s digital working environment, data security, recovery and protection is of vital importance,” said Charlie Smith, consultant solutions engineer, at Barracuda Networks. “Unfortunately, it has become apparent that many business owners, workers and consumers are not aware of the need for backup and recovery services for their email service providers."

He added: “Our own research even revealed that 40 per cent of Office 365 users believe that Microsoft provides everything they need to protect their data and software. Whilst Office 365 does offer some level of security, even Microsoft suggests using a third party backup to ensure that data is fully protected and retrievable. Without it, organisations can be left prone to accidental data loss and even ransomware attacks.”

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