UK: ICO fines Muscle Foods £50,000 for sending unsolicited marketing communications
The Information Commissioner's Office ('ICO') announced, on 3 March 2021, that it had issued, on 1 March 2021, a monetary penalty notice and enforcement notice to Muscle Foods Limited in which it imposed a fine of £50,000 to Muscle Foods for sending approximately 135,651,627 marketing emails and 6,354,425 marketing SMS messages to individuals without their consent, over a period of seven months. In particular, the ICO outlined that Muscle Foods had sent the aforementioned communications between 25 March 2019 and 25 October 2019 over a public electronic communications network to individual subscribers for the purpose of direct marketing contrary to Regulation 22 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 ('PECR'). Furthermore, the ICO highlighted that organisation cannot generally send marketing emails or SMS unless the recipient has notified the sender that they consent to such emails being sent by, or at the instigation of, that sender.
Regarding the severity of the contravention, the ICO noted that it was unlikely that actual damage has been caused as a result of the contravention, but that Muscle Foods had continued to send marketing emails to individuals without any apparent remedial measures having been taken to prevent further violations of Regulation 22 of the PECR, since completion of the ICO's investigation to the date of the monetary penalty notice.