The Value Of Privacy – €12 million fine issued to Vodafone

By Myles Dacres

There’s a bit of a debate raging within the consulting team at DPP about the value of privacy and what it will take to persuade the reluctant controllers that they really must comply with the law and really should be taking a best practice approach to privacy management rather than a path of least resistance.

This debate will be rekindled in light of the €12 million fine issued to Vodafone in Italy for non-compliant marketing. It is no surprise to our Outsourced DPO that Vodafone have been fined in this way, since mid-summer they have been pushing out unsolicited promotional text messages left, right and centre in the UK about all sorts of nonsense totally unrelated to their own business such as chocolate sharing bags, and Just Eat vouchers.

Given this, one would expect a fine from the ICO at some point in time too. Vodafone was fined in Spain a mere €75k for marketing breaches so one assumes that they are carrying out this type of marketing across Europe.

If each of the 27 Member States of the EU plus the UK issued a fine in Italian proportions, it would amount to €336 million. That’s quite some fine but still probably only a snip for an entity like Vodafone.

The question remains, what will it take to encourage controllers to bring and maintain their operations in compliance?

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We have been advising those people who have contacted us that they should make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) using this link  It would be helpful to the ICO if you knew the number that called you, the date and time of the call and what the call seemed to be about.

You might also want to register your phone number with the telephone preference service (TPS), a national suppression service which should cut down calls of this nature as it is not lawful to make unsolicited direct marketing calls to numbers registered on the TPS.  You can register your number here

We know that these kind of calls can be distressing and intrusive and you have our sympathy.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss it with us otherwise we’d encourage you to report it to the ICO as notifying them of this kind of practice enables them to investigate and take enforcement action where necessary.  You can see the action that has been taken by the ICO here

Data Protection People Limited – March 2021