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UK Data Protection fees...



Hello All,


Had a letter from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) this week, regarding the payment of a Data Protection Fee (£40 - £60 annually, but can be much more for large companies).


At first I thought that this was a scam !  but it seems not.


All businesses and organisations etc. are required to register and pay the fee, although there are limited exemptions.

Haven't had time to wade thru all the documentation on the website yet ( www.ico.org.uk ), but it seems more costs and bureaucracy for people doing business, whether a sole trader or limited company.

Apparently even having a dash cam in a work vehicle requires the Data Protection Fee to be paid !  so that would include any of us using our cars going off to take stock photos if fitted with a dash cam (covid restrictions pending).

Our lovely MP's and House of Lords reps are exempt from this.


Anyone have thoughts on this ?  

is a photograph personal information ?

Are we all aware of this ?


Lots of weekend reading to do....





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Thank you for the response David.


I get your point about just using paper model releases.


But reading more I guess that as I do some work for a well known UK singer/musician, and my invoice is made out to him (by name), and the invoice is sent via email, and my record book keeping & accounting is on my computer, then I am not exempt therefore have to register and pay the fee.


I'm sure things were less hassle in the old days....



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3 hours ago, David Pimborough said:

Not -for -profit purposes


I think most of us fall into this one.😉


At least I am not making a profit.




Edited by Allan Bell
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Boy, that checklist is quite a cash machine isn't it? The law has not changed.

I happen to believe that a digital camera doesn't process personal information at all- it records an image. The personal information (the portrait) doesn't exist until that point. That definition would exempt an image on film, which can't be right.

Additionally, a photograph isn't personal information per se- only if it's taken for the purpose of identifying someone. This exempts most day-to-day professional photography. The link is to an ICO pdf which explains this on page 15- a ournalist's photographs of people are not personal data, but a police surveillance photographer's are.



At New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square two almost identical photographs of the revellers are taken by two separate photographers and stored in electronic form on computer. The first photographer, a photo journalist, takes a picture of the crowd scene to add to his photo library. The second photographer is a police officer taking photos of the crowd scene to identify potential troublemakers. The data in the electronic image taken by the journalist is unlikely to contain personal data about individuals in the crowd as it is not being processed to learn anything about an identifiable individual. However, the photo taken by the police officer may well contain personal data about individuals as the photo is taken for the purpose of recording the actions of individuals who the police would seek to identify, if there is any trouble, so they can take action against them."


You certainly don't need to register if you do your accounts on a computer.

Edited by spacecadet
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13 hours ago, David Pimborough said:



Hit that nail squarely on the head!


And the reason the ICO has been churning out these letters is that their department is £1.3million in the red and they

use the fees and fines to finance themselves.


So they send out the not so subtle demand letters in the hope of reeling in the cash.


However they still find the cash to pay for research companies as I had a lengthy phone meeting with one a few weeks back carrying out research on behalf of the ICO for this self same subject.






And so it goes around.     A pays B pays C pays A etc etc etc.😜




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