The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), yesterday executed a search warrant at a property in the Palmers Green area of London as part of an investigation into the illegal access of customer details from a nationwide car repair company.
The search warrant, is part of an investigation by the ICO prompted by concerns raised by Nationwide Accident Repairs Services (NARS).
NARS told investigators that a computer system it uses had been unlawfully accessed to view car repair estimates which contained personal data. The person of interest to the search warrant carried out today is not a current employee of NARS.
Mike Shaw, ICO Enforcement Manager, said: “Our experience shows that unscrupulous people access personal data about car accidents to sell it on to marketing firms, who use the details to make nuisance calls. We searched this house to gather more evidence as we have reason to believe that a person living at this address has illegally accessed personal information”.
Jason Moseley, Director of RMI Bodyshops, the UK’s trade association for vehicle body repair sector, commented: “We are delighted that further actions are being taken against this criminal activity, our trade association stands firmly in support of NARS and others for their work with the ICO. Moseley continued” these widening actions form a suite of sector activities at targeting the cessation of unauthorised access and commoditisation of consumer data”.
The ICO’s investigation into the matter is ongoing.
Unlawfully obtaining or accessing personal data is a criminal offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.The offence is punishable by way of a fine issued by the courts.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.