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Pregnancy club Bounty UK Limited fined £400,000 for acting as data broking service

Pregnancy club Bounty UK Limited fined £400,000 for acting as data broking service
  • Almost 34.4 million records have been illegally shared with nearly 39 organizations including Acxiom, Equifax, Indicia, and Sky.
  • Personal data relating to pregnancy, new mothers, mothers-to-be, the birth dates, and sex of the children were shared.

What is the issue - Pregnancy club Bounty UK Limited has been operating as a data broking service and has illegally shared data of almost 14 million individuals with third-parties without explicit user consent.

Why it matters - Almost 34.4 million records have been illegally shared with nearly 39 organizations including Acxiom, Equifax, Indicia, and Sky between June 2017 and April 2018.

What data was shared - Personal data relating to pregnancy, new mothers, mothers-to-be, the birth dates, and sex of the children were shared.

The big picture

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) conducted an investigation and found out that the Pregnancy club Bounty collected pregnancy-related data and shared with third-parties for direct electronic marketing purposes.

The ICO’s findings revealed that the data was collected from those who were ‘potentially vulnerable’ through membership registration in the Pregnancy club’s website and mobile application. Data was also collected by the hospitals via merchandise claiming cards, free samples, and vouchers.

Steve Eckersley, ICO’s Director of Investigations noted that the Bounty’s data handling is “careless and appear[s] to have been motivated by financial gain.”

Worth noting

  • It is to be noted that the Bounty has stopped data sharing practice in April 2018 and no longer operates as a data broking service.
  • The Bounty has acknowledged the ICO’s findings and has now made changes to its data collection and handling methods.
  • According to BBC, Bounty has ended all relationships with data brokers.
  • An independent data specialist is to be hired to perform an annual survey to ensure that the Pregnancy club Bounty does not operate as a data broking service again.

What’s the conclusion - The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has imposed a fine of £400,000 against the Pregnancy club Bounty UK Limited for illegally sharing and selling data of almost 14 million individuals with third-parties.

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