A warning for all charities: 11 charities fined for data protection breaches


Eleven charities have been fined for data protection offences, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has confirmed.

The ICO said the charities had breached the Data Protection Act 1998 in various ways. Some of the charities screened millions of donors to target them for extra funds and some targeted new donors by compiling information about them from other sources. Some traded donors’ personal information with other charities, amassing a large pool of donor data for sale.

The charities fined were:

  • The International Fund for Animal Welfare, fined £18,000.
  • Cancer Support UK (formerly Cancer Recovery Foundation UK), fined £16,000.
  • Cancer Research UK, fined £16,000.
  • The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, fined £15,000.
  • Macmillan Cancer Support, fined £14,000.
  • The Royal British Legion, fined £12,000.
  • The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, fined £12,000.
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, fined £11,000.
  • WWF-UK, fined £9,000.
  • Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home, fined £9,000.
  • Oxfam, fined £6,000.

The ICO said the Commissioner had reduced the fines considerably to take account of the risk of adding distress to donors who had been targeted by the charities.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “Millions of people will have been affected by these charities’ contravention of the law. They will be upset to learn the way their personal information has been analysed and shared by charities they trusted with their details and their donations.

“No charity wants to alienate their donors. And we acknowledge the role charities play in the fabric of British society. But charities must follow the law.”

The latest set of fines follows the issuing of fines to two major charities for similar offences, which we reported on in December.

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