Housing developer Magnacrest Ltd fined for ignoring data request issued by ICO

Organisations have been reminded that they could face a criminal prosecution if they fail to respect the public’s legal right to access their personal information. The warning has come from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after housing developer Magnacrest Ltd was fined by Westminster Magistrates for breaching data protection laws. The company failed to comply with an enforcement notice issued by the ICO and so the regulator prosecuted.

The court heard that an individual had submitted a subject access request on 17 April 2017. A Subject Access Request, or SAR, allows someone to request all of the personal information an organisation holds about them.

However, Magnacrest Ltd – which is based in Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire – failed to provide the information within the required timescale of 40 calendar days and the individual complained to the ICO, the data protection regulator.

The ICO served an enforcement notice on the company ordering it to comply with the law and provide the requested information. When the company failed to obey the notice, the ICO brought a criminal prosecution under Section 47(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Magnacrest Ltd pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to comply with an enforcement notice when it appeared before Westminster Magistrates on 6 February this year. The company was fined £300, with a £30 victim surcharge, and was also ordered to pay £1,133.75 towards prosecution costs.

Mike Shaw, the ICO’s criminal enforcement manager, commented: “The right to access your own personal information is a fundamental and long-standing principle of data protection law. New laws brought into effect last May strengthen those rights even further. Organisations not only have to respect this right, but must also respect notices from the ICO enforcing the law. If they fail to do so then they must accept the consequences, which can include a criminal prosecution.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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