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Wednesday 5 December 2018

ICO undermines all prospect of impartial treatment as Leave.EU files its response with the regulators.   

Last month, the ICO dished out £75,000 in fines to Leave.EU for data breaches. Following submission of its legal “representations” yesterday to the ICO’s notices, Leave.EU slams the regulator for distorting the process through leaks, a skewed report and outlandish speculation aired in public. A spokesperson for Leave.EU said:

“Our lawyers have made clear to the ICO that we firmly believe the process adopted by the regulator has completely undermined any prospect of our representations being given a fair and impartial hearing.

“The ICO has behaved appallingly in leaking details of the Notices of Intent (NoIs) and Preliminary Enforcement Notices (PENs) to the press just moments after sending them to Leave.EU.

“The ICO’s objective from the beginning is clear: build up maximum exposure to the fines and leverage the backing of the Remainer-led media, hence the convenient timing of its report into data analytics and political campaigns, but it didn’t stop there.

“The Information Commissioner herself, Elizabeth Denham appeared before the biased Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee to expand upon the distorted details, much to the delight of Committee chair, Damian Collins, who has staked his reputation on bringing Leave.EU down. He’s been at it for a year now with nothing to show for it.

“Denham and fellow high-ranking ICO officials have assured in several forums, including the DCMS, that Leave.EU would be sanctioned. The arrow had already been fired, just a case of painting a target around it through an exhaustive investigation. The ICO has since backtracked, telling Leave.EU’s lawyers that Ms Denham “misspoke”. Too late, the damage is done.

“Our rights to a fair and impartial hearing have been totally compromised by the ICO.

“The regulator’s public statements and coordinated publicity with members of the press and the DCMS before Leave.EU could possibly have an opportunity to submit its defence has served to tilt the balance of the investigation against us. We face a titanic struggle.

“It is inconceivable that ICO staff working on the investigation will feel comfortable giving our evidence a reasonable weighting.

“In addition to the tampering, the ICO has stubbornly obstructed our defence by denying our requests to see correspondence on the investigation using the Freedom of Information Act – doubly concerning when you consider the body is supposed to serve as the Act’s guardian and enforcer. It has also refused to correct factual errors in its propagandist report.

“Leave.EU submitted its formal response yesterday. We look forward to hearing how our evidence-based arguments (what a novel idea) are dismissed by this kangaroo quango.”