Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dealing with the Data Protection Commissioner

My case went in an official 'file' in a 'filing cabinet' :)
So, I started getting these funky emails from a job coaching crowd called Jobcare.  Unsolicited, unwanted.  I told them to stop.  They didn't.  Then, they started sending me emails with all the other email recipients' email addresses - including mine - exposed.  I told them to stop, then I copied everyone and told them to stop, saying this was spam.  They didn't.  So I told them they could deal with the data protection commissioner, who I alerted.  Here's what happened:


To:     <>
Subject:        Complaint Form from 
Anthony Behan

Name: Anthony Behan



Complaint is against: Jobcare Ltd. 28a Pearse Street, Dublin 2 Reg. Charity
Number: 11301

I have been dealing with: Sxxxxxxx Sxxxxxxx

Comments: These guys keep sending me emails about jobs, with my email
address open, and copying a cast of thousands. I have replied privately on
February 21st and asked to be removed from the list. I got a response which
did not address my request, but instead said "Hi Anthony info below see you
next week hopefully will be good!" with a smiley at the bottom. If I didn't
know better, I'd have said it was a bot. I replied again saying remove me,
I consider it spam. I emailed again on March 19th, this time copying
everyone who had been copied on the notes. No response. I emailed again
today, April 11th. There is no acknowledgement. I have no idea what the
agenda for these guys is, but they need to stop emailing me, and in
particular stop broadcasting my email address to dozens of other people.

Dear Mr. Behan

Thank you for your email.

In order for our office to give this matter further consideration we will
require a full copy (including email header with dates & times sent,
details of sender, etc) of one the emails you received and full copies of
emails you sent in reply.

Once we receive this information we will examine the matter in more detail.

Yours Sincerely

Sxxxxxxx Fxxxxxxx
Information Officer

[sends copied of offending emails]


Did anything happen with this?


Anthony Behan

Dear Mr. Behan,

I wish to acknowledge receipt of your complaint to the Data Protection
Commissioner against Jobcare Ltd.

The Commissioner, under Section 10 of the Data Protection Acts 1988 & 2003,
will investigate your complaint using our full legal powers if necessary to
resolve the matter.

The first step in the investigation is to give the party about whom the
complaint is made an opportunity to respond.

Our approach to complaints, as provided under the Acts, is to try to reach
an amicable resolution to the matter which is the subject of the complaint.
In cases where it is not possible to reach an amicable resolution, a
complainant may ask the Commissioner to make a formal decision under
Section 10 of the Acts as to whether a contravention has occurred.
However, the Commissioner does not have a power to award compensation.

Data controllers are liable under Section 7 of the Acts to an individual
for damages in the Courts if they fail to observe the duty of care they owe
in relation to personal data in their possession.  It is a matter for any
individual who feels s/he may have suffered damage from a contravention by
a data controller of its data protection responsibilities to take legal
advice as appropriate.  This Office has no function in relation to the
taking of any such proceedings under this Section or in the giving of any
such legal advice.

We would ask that you quote the reference number above in all
correspondence to this Office to assist us in dealing efficiently with your

Yours sincerely

Cxxxxxx  Rxxxxxx
Information Officer


Thank you. I have no interest in compensation, just in getting them to stop sending me emails, and broadcasting my email address.  As it happens, I have not had an email from them since April 11th when I lodged the complaint.  

Has been informed of my complaint?


Dear Mr. Behan,

I refer to your complaint to this Office against Jobcare Ltd.

I can confirm that we have written to Jobcare Ltd. and  we will revert as
soon as possible with the outcome of this investigation. In the event that
you have any further information or correspondence which you consider may
be of assistance in the investigation of your complaint, please forward
same to this Office.

Please continue to quote the reference number above in all correspondence
to this Office.

Yours sincerely

Cxxxxxxx  Rxxxxxxx
Information Officer

Hi there. Did this case progress any further?
Thank you,

Dear Mr. Behan

I refer to this Office's investigation of the complaint submitted by you to
the Data Protection Commissioner against Jobcare Limited.

Jobcare Limited have engaged with us in relation to your complaint and the
first thing we discovered is that there was a participant on the Jobcare
Employment Preparation Course with the same name, and with a similar email
address. When this persons email address was being recorded on the group
email list for this course there was a typo which resulted in the emails
being sent to you. This was a failing by Jobcare Limited to keep personal
data accurate and up to date and it also led to your email address being
disclosed to third parties without your consent.

Jobcare Limited informed us that they did not act on your requests to be
removed from the mailing list as the participant on their course, who they
thought they were sending the emails to, contacted them by telephone to
discuss the content of the emails and attended the follow-up
groups/meetings that were the subject of the emails.

As you will be aware from our acknowledgement letter to you dated 7 June
2013, our approach to complaints is to try to reach an amicable resolution
to complaints submitted to this Office. in this regard we are currently
awaiting receipt of a written apology addressed to you from Jobcare Limited
which we will send on to you upon receipt.

Yours sincerely

Nxxxxx Bxxxxx
Investigations Officer

The culprits!
Needless to say, I've not had any apology yet, and I'm not holding my breath.  It's all a terribly curious business.  I should also add - I don't know why these guys are a charity, if they're job coaching.  Nor why they are using email like this.  It's all very strange.  I do know that the 'Grace Bible Fellowship' meets at this same address on Sundays, who "offer courses designed to help the individual grow and mature in Christ and occasional outreach style courses for seekers and those interested in knowing more about Christian life."  I don't trust religion generally, and this sort of thing doesn't help.

*** UPDATE *****
14th October, received in the post a letter from the DPC with a written apology from Jobcare.  Thank you JobCare :)

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