NEWS15 April 2019

ICO fines Bounty UK over data sharing

News Privacy UK

UK – Pregnancy and parenting club, Bounty UK, has been fined £400,000 for illegally sharing personal information by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Bounty UK_crop

Bounty collected personal information for more than 14m people through website and mobile app membership registration, merchandise pack claim cards and directly from new mothers at hospital bedsides.

But the ICO investigation found that Bounty also operated as a data brokering service until 30 April 2018, supplying data to third parties for electronic direct marketing.

The company breached the Data Protection Act 1998 by sharing personal information with a number of organisations without being fully clear with people that it might do so.

It shared approximately 34.4 million records between June 2017 and April 2018 with 39 organisations including credit reference and marketing agencies Acxiom, Equifax, Indicia and Sky.

The personal information included the birth date and gender of children.

Steve Eckersley, ICO’s director of investigations, said: “The number of personal records and people affected in this case is unprecedented in the history of the ICO’s investigations into data broking industry and organisations linked to this.

“Bounty was not open or transparent to the millions of people that their personal data may be passed on to such large number of organisations. Any consent given by these people was clearly not informed. Bounty’s actions appear to have been motivated by financial gain, given that data sharing was an integral part of their business model at the time.

“Such careless data sharing is likely to have caused distress to many people, since they did not know that their personal information was being shared multiple times with so many organisations, including information about their pregnancy status and their children”