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Second Estate Agents is fined for Data Protection Act breach

The second estate agent in a month has been found guilty of breaching the Data Protection Act, and as a result, has been fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Newbank Estate and Letting Agents failed to inform the ICO that it processes personal data; it was ordered, by Cwmbran Magistrate’s Court, to pay a £100 fine, £250 towards prosecution costs, and a £15 victims’ surcharge.

Such a fine ‘should serve as a clear warning to all businesses that they must comply with all necessary laws if they handle personal data’, Anne Jones, Assistant commissioner for Wales said; “The fact that this is the second prosecution against an estate agent that the ICO has brought to court this month proves that the industry still needs to take its legal responsibilities more seriously,”

Stewart Room, of Lawyer firm Fisher Waterhouse LLP, has stated, through, that the fine undermined the ICO’s stance – and called on the ICO to lobby hard for more to be done:
“The amount of the fine sends out a very clear signal to business, namely that the courts do not regard Data Protection Act crimes as serious matters. This is very depressing as it will only encourage bad businesses to continue in their ways,” he said.

Information commissioner Christopher Graham announced on Tuesday that the organisation is in the process of preparing a fifth fine, which could go as high as £500,000, as it seeks to clamp down on poor data handling.

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