ICO top stories of the year

By Robert Parker, Head of Corporate Affairs.


The ICO has been in the news throughout 2015. From raiding a call centre making nuisance calls to ordering Google to remove certain search results, we’ve been busy holding organisations to account over information rights.

Action by the ICO has frequently been picked up by journalists leading to features on television and radio, in newspapers and online.

Thousands of you have read about our work directly through the news stories on the ICO website too. With 2015 drawing to a close, we’ve collated our eight most read stories of the year:

1: Google to change privacy policy after ICO investigation – 30 January 2015

Steve Eckersley, Head of Enforcement at the ICO, said:

“This investigation has identified some important learning points not only for Google, but also for all organisations operating online, particularly when they seek to combine and use data across services.”

2: Welsh police force fined for sexual abuse case data breach – 18 May 2015

3: Nuisance calls: boilers, insulation and solar panels – 30 May 2014

This story was from 2014 but received a lot of views after we issued our largest ever nuisance call fine this September.

An ICO investigation discovered that HELM made over six million calls as part of a massive automated call marketing campaign offering ‘free’ solar panels.

4: ICO orders removal of Google search results – 20 August 2015

This ICO ruling recognised that journalistic content relating to decisions to delist search results may be newsworthy and in the public interest. But it confirmed that this does not justify including links to that content when a Google search is made by entering the affected individual’s name, as this has an unwarranted and negative impact on the individual’s privacy and is a breach of the Data Protection Act.

5: A cookie can last 7,984 years, according to new international privacy study – 17 February 2015

ICO Group Manager for Technology, Simon Rice, said:

“While the length of time a cookie needs to remain on a device will depend on the reason why it was originally set, it is difficult to justify an expiry date in the year 9999 for even the most innocent of purposes.”

6: Fax errors lead to data breach at Northumbria NHS Trust – 11 May 2015

7: Law change outlaws ‘back door’ criminal record check – 9 March 2015

Jonathan Bamford, ICO’s Head of Strategic Liaison, said:

“I’ve been involved in negotiations to see this practice outlawed for almost 20 years. It’s been a long road, but this law change is a sensible and proportionate step that stops people’s rights being abused and laws protecting them undermined.”

8: ICO raids call centre connected to millions of nuisance calls

As well as our news releases, statements we’ve put out about big issues have been read by thousands of you too. Our response to the ruling on Safe Harbor had more than 15,000 page views whilst other well-read statements included our stance on the Talk Talk incident.

Robert ParkerRobert Parker‘s department is responsible for providing effective internal and external communications for the ICO, corporate and business planning, risk management and internal audit.
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