To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 26 March 2021 to Question 169852, on Sexual Offences, how a report of sexually explicit spam can be made on the website of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO); and to what volume of those reports the ICO is able to respond.
26 April 2021
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in responsible for investigating email spam direct marketing and has recently launched a reporting tool to make reporting spam emails easier, including unsolicited adult content emails. If an individual receives sexually explicit spam, they should consider making a report to the ICO on their website and selecting ‘adult content’. The online form is available at: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages/spam-emails/report-spam-emails/
Where a complaint or series of complaints are received that relate to direct marketing, and where sufficient information has been provided to assess whether a potential breach of the legislation has taken place, the ICO will use the intelligence gathered to direct its investigation. Complaints made to the ICO must meet this threshold in order for a proportionate investigation to be undertaken, and we would expect them to do so where a reasonable case exists. However, the ICO can only investigate concerns about marketing emails from identifiable UK senders and not from those outside of the UK. International collaboration agreements are in place with a number of overseas bodies to cooperate and exchange information to try and stop spam emails, including sexually explicit spam, being sent from those countries.