10 APRIL 2017
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Deliberately sending emails to millions of people who had opted out of receiving them has cost Flybe a fine of £70,000 after an investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
Officials found Flybe sent more than 3.3m of the messages in August 2016 asking recipients if their details were correct and advising them to amend out-of-date information and update marketing preferences.
The airline was fined for breaking the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR), part of the Data Protection Act, which give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications.
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: "Sending emails to determine whether people want to receive marketing without the right consent is still marketing and it is against the law.
The case comes ahead of the Data Protection Act 1998 being replaced in May 2018 by the stronger General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), affecting how companies obtain customer consent for marketing.
The ICO said any company unsure of the best way to prepare for the change in consent under the new rules should contact the ICO for advice. Eckersley warned: "Businesses must understand they can't break one law to get ready for another."
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