UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has warned that repeatedly flouting Britain's data protection laws could land offenders in jail.
Graham said that companies that breached the Data Protection Act not only risked losing the confidence of their customers, but would face a range of severe penalties imposed by the UK Information Commissioners Office (ICO) to set an example for other organisations.
The ICO reported a 30 per cent rise in data protection complaints and information requests between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010.
In its annual report, the ICO states that it received 33,234 data protection complaints and requests for information, and that Freedom of Information requests rose by 20 per cent to 3,734.
In a statement, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said: “We have made some significant internal changes to ensure we are best placed to deal with the increasing demands and expectations placed upon us by the public and the organisations we work with.”