Experian ‘very pleased’ with outcome of appeal against ICO action
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said it will consider whether to appeal, following a ruling on its action to require Experian to change how it handle’s people’s personal data.
The judgment supported aspects of the ICO’s decision, while allowing Experian’s appeal in other areas.
Experian said it is “very pleased” with the outcome and it remains deeply committed to transparency, safeguarding privacy and helping consumers to better understand and control the use of their data.
The Tribunal found, in support of the ICO, that Experian had not processed the personal data of over five million individuals transparently, fairly or lawfully because it failed to notify them that it was processing their data for direct marketing purposes.
But the ICO said the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) had rejected its view that Experian’s privacy notice was not transparent, and that using credit reference data for direct marketing purposes was unfair.
Stephen Bonner, ICO deputy commissioner said: “The credit reference agency industry holds data on almost every adult in the UK.
“Information is screened, traded, profiled and enhanced to provide direct marketing services, and that process must happen in line with the law and in an open and honest way.
“Since we began our work with credit reference agencies, we’ve seen companies make significant changes to improve how they respect people’s information rights, notably being clearer in how data is used.”
A statement placed on the ICO’s website said: “The ICO will take stock of today’s judgment and carefully consider next steps, including whether to appeal.”
The ICO previously issued an enforcement notice to Experian Limited in October 2020 following a two-year investigation.
Experian said at that time that it disagreed with the ICO’s decision and it intended to appeal.
Jose Luiz Rossi, managing director, Experian UK and Ireland said on Monday: “Today’s decision by the First-Tier Tribunal substantially overturns the ICO’s enforcement notice issued against Experian in 2020.
“It represents a welcome development for the consumers, small businesses and charities across the UK that rely on the services provided by Experian.
“The Tribunal found, in contrast to the ICO’s enforcement notice, that the vast majority of our practices meet GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), requirements, including the transparency that we provide consumers through our credit reference agency information notice and our consumer information portal. We are very pleased with this outcome.
“We also welcome the clarification concerning the provision of notifications to people whose data we collect solely from public records, who represent a very small percentage of our UK marketing database. We will build this into our processes in accordance with the Tribunal’s time requirement.
“We share the ICO’s goals on the need to provide transparency, maintain privacy and ensure consumers are in control of their data.
“As we have stated throughout these proceedings, we remain deeply committed to transparency, safeguarding privacy and helping consumers to better understand and control the use of their data.”
The ICO previously found millions of adults in the UK were likely to be affected by “invisible” data processing.
It said processing had been invisible because people were not aware an organisation is collecting and using their personal data.