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Caithness.org News Bulletins -  November 2002

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A warning has been issued to local businesses in the wake of the latest round of official-looking mailings from firms offering to register them with the Information Commissioner as required by the Data Protection Act.

According to Keith Muir, Business Information Officer with Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise, "A number of local businesses have brought this to our attention. People are being confused by these mailings, which are clearly designed to look as though they are official warnings from the Information Commissioner, whereas in fact these people have no legal status whatever.

"The Commissioner, Elizabeth France, is keen to make clear that there is no connection between her Office and these businesses. She too has been disturbed that a number of people have been confused and troubled by the wording and tone of some of the correspondence issued by these businesses. Her Office is co-operating with other relevant authorities, which are exploring what action might be taken."

"I advise data controllers to ignore any approach made by these businesses, who are typically charging up to 95 + VAT for notification. Other than paying the annual statutory notification fee of 35, on which no VAT is payable, there is no charge made by the Information Commissioner to any data controller wishing to notify."

Organisations who wish to complain about correspondence received from these businesses, should contact Trading Standards on 0845 600 4222.

If you would like more information on the Data Protection Act 1998, or to clarify what actions you may need to take, please contact Keith at CASE's Business Information Source on 01847 805200 or email  
   Other useful sources of information are The Data Protection website at www.dpr.gov.uk
and the Notification helpline on 01625 545740.