Sadly, recent news has highlighted another example of a business passing on their customer’s data without their knowledge, often for economic gain. Big names such as Facebook, Ticketmaster, Microsoft, Yahoo and the Marriott Hotel group have all been in the firing line, and rightly so, for illegally sharing personal information.
It is especially shocking when parents and parents-to-be, who are on an undeniably intense and personal journey already, are betrayed by a parenting and pregnancy company, in this case Bounty, who has hugely mishandled their data.
We’re starting a legal group action against parenting and pregnancy support group Bounty after they illegally breached approximately 34.4 million data records belonging to 14 million people. As a leading firm of solicitors passionate about consumer rights, we are astounded by the huge lack of respect that Bounty has demonstrated by selling on its members’ data for its own financial gain, and we want justice for the people that have been affected.
Bounty has been fined £400,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for breaching the 1998 Data Protection Act, in which highly personal information such as postal addresses and pregnancy stages have been shared. But, we don’t think this is nearly enough. Bounty has left its unsuspecting, trusting members vulnerable and compromised, with many not even aware that their information has been shared with numerous parties – namely, credit reference and marketing agencies such as Acxiom, Equifax, Indicia and Sky.
The ICO condemns Bounty’s actions
ICO’s Director of Investigations, Steve Eckersly, is astounded by Bounty’s shameless selling of data, admitting that the number of personal records and people affected is “unprecedented in the history of ICO’s investigations into the data broking industry and organisations linked to this.”
Such lack of transparency and questionable moral treatment towards its members is even more shocking when we consider the sensitive nature of subjects that Bounty offers advice on: the group offers families guidance in every part of the journey to parenthood; from pregnancy, to birth, to pre-school.
Bounty has been fined £400,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for breaching the 1998 Data Protection Act, in which highly personal information such as postal addresses and pregnancy stages have been shared.
Coby Benson, Solicitor at Bott and Co says: “Personal data is being lost, stolen and compromised on a mass scale and at an alarming rate – and it is simply not acceptable. In this case, Bounty sold its customers’ data for its own financial gains, which is shocking. We’re starting group legal action against Bounty as it has breached data protection laws by sharing personal and potentially sensitive information of millions of parents and parents-to-be.”
“People affected feel betrayed and concerned since they did not know their details were being shared with third parties. Therefore, we are urging those who may have been affected to get in touch so that we can fight the case on their behalf.”
Data should be protected at all costs
At Bott and Co, we strive to show exemplary service to our clients when it comes to data protection, and we grasp a well-rounded understanding on the consequences of breaching personal data, which of course we do not condone under any circumstances. Having been awarded the ISO27001 accreditation, we have proven that data management is a key priority to us – and we believe that anyone working with consumers on a mass scale should do the same.