ICO publishes Annual Report

Yesterday, the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) published its Annual Report detailing its activities and financial statements for the 12 months to 31 March 2012.

The catchy title uses clever wordplay: “In the Rights space, at the right time” – alluding to the high profile of information rights issues over the past year.

On data protection matters (under the Data Protection Act 1998), the ICO received just under 13,000 complaints and served 10 civil monetary penalties, two enforcement notices and 76 undertakings. Subject access remained the most common topic of complaints, followed by disclosure of data and accuracy of data, with security in fourth place.

In relation to unsolicited marketing communications (under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003), over 7,000 complaints were received, a big increase from the previous year and making it the top reason for complaints (exceeding those for the different data protection matters mentioned above). This is also a particularly hot topic at the moment with the recent press on cold calling.

In relation to freedom of information (under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004), the ICO received an increase in casework from the previous year with just over 4,600 complaints received.

The report, a summary and an accompanying webcast are available on the ICO’s website at: www.ico.gov.uk.

Olivia Whitcroft, principal of OBEP, 6 July 2012