Dr. Jonathan Levy

Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

I am seeking aggregate summaries and or statistics of total complaints received and or cases opened in 2018 regarding crypto currencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.) and related matters such as initial crypto coin offerings and token offerings, and crypto trading scams.

I am seeking aggregate numbers of complaints and not identifying information for these categories:

crypto currencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.)

complaints about initial coin or token offerings crypto currencies

other complaints in which crypto currencies were a factor

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Jonathan Levy

Information Access Inbox, Information Commissioner's Office

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
respond to you within our published, and statutory, service levels. For
more information please visit:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...

If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
an initial response and case reference number within 30 days.

If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
personal information, we will not usually look into it unless you have
raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days. 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
copied to us.

For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

For information about what we do with personal data see our [2]privacy
notice.

If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Yours sincerely

The Information Commissioner’s Office

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References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...
2. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/
3. https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-an...
4. http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

Information Commissioner's Office

16 May 2019

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0841921

 

Dear Dr Levy,

Thank you for your correspondence which we received on 9 May 2019, in
which you have made a request for information held by the Information
Commissioner's Office (ICO). 
 
Your request has been passed to the ICO’s Information Access Team, and is
being dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000
under the reference number shown above. 
 
As you are probably aware the FOIA provides individuals with the right of
access recorded information held by public authorities. It is important to
note that a release under FOIA is applicant blind and therefore
effectively a release to the wider world.
 
We will respond to your FOIA request promptly, and no later than 7 June
2019, which is 20 working days from the day after we received your
request.
 
Should you wish to reply to this email please be careful not to amend the
information in the ‘subject’ field. This will ensure that your reply is
added directly to your case.
 
Yours sincerely
 

Shannon Keith
Senior Information Access Officer, Risk and Governance Department
Corporate Strategy and Planning Directorate
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 313 1636  F. 01625 524510  [1]ico.org.uk  [2]twitter.com/iconews
For information about what we do with personal data see our [3]privacy
notice.
Please consider the environment before printing this email

 
 

References

Visible links
1. http://ico.org.uk/
2. https://twitter.com/iconews
3. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/

Information Commissioner's Office

25 May 2019

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0841921

 

Dear Dr Levy,

Thank you for your recent request for information. We received your
request on 9 May 2019. Further to our acknowledgment of 16 May 2019 we are
now in a position to respond.
 
We have dealt with your request in accordance with your ‘right to know’
under section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
  
Request
 
In your email you asked:
 
I am seeking aggregate summaries and or statistics of total complaints
received and or cases opened in 2018 regarding crypto currencies (Bitcoin,
Ethereum etc.) and related matters such as initial crypto coin offerings
and token offerings, and crypto trading scams. I am seeking aggregate
numbers of complaints and not identifying information for these
categories: crypto currencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.) complaints about
initial coin or token offerings crypto currencies other complaints in
which crypto currencies were a factor.
 
Response – Information withheld (section 12)

While it is likely that we hold information in scope of your request,
unfortunately we are not able to provide you with the information you have
requested.  I will explain in more detail below why this is the case, but
in brief, section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) makes
clear that a public authority (such as the Information Commissioner’s
Office – the ICO) is not obliged to comply with an FOIA request if the
authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would
exceed the ‘appropriate limit'. 
 
The ‘appropriate limit’ for the ICO, as determined in the ‘Freedom of
Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations
2004’ is £450.  We have determined that £450 would equate to 18 hours
work. 

The information you are interested in is likely to sit within our
electronic case management system which, amongst other things, records all
complaints and concerns submitted to the ICO. 

However, this system is not set up to easily provide us with the type of
information you have asked about.  Generally speaking this is not the sort
of information we would need for our own day to day business purposes. 
 
This system allows us to search for data protection complaints in a number
of different ways, such as by the unique reference number the case was
given, the name of the data controller who is the subject of a complaint,
and the sector in which they operate.  We can also search for cases on the
basis of the broad nature of the complaint or concern, but we can only
search on a limited number of fixed criteria which are structured around
the main sections of the data protection legislation.  
 
Because of this we are unable to conduct an electronic search on the
specifics of individual complaints, unless we know which data controller
the complaint relates to.
 
In order to find the information you are interested in we would need to
individually check every relevant data protection complaint case in 2018.
 
We have determined that cryptocurrency trading platforms and exchanges are
categorised in our case management system as “General Business”. Having
checked our system for broad figures I can confirm that within the
timeframe of your request there are in excess of 4500 complaints relating
to that sector.

While some complaints may be readily identifiable from the name of data
controller—for example, where ‘bitcoin’ occurs in the name, undertaking a
comprehensive search for all information in scope would require a review
of each case. Assuming that a brief search of each case would take
approximately 2 minutes to complete, this would equate to 150 hours of
searching, which is in excess of the 18 hours which would accrue a charge
of £450.
 
It is for this reason, and in accordance with section 12 of the FOIA, that
we are not obliged to comply with your information request.

Further advice

Narrowing your scope

If you are able to provide a list of data controllers you are interested
in we could undertake a search of complaints relating to those data
controllers reported in 2018.
 
Publicly available datasets

You may be aware that the ICO proactively discloses datasets regarding our
data protection cases work. Datasets are available back to the 2014/15
Financial Year. By following [1]this link you can search any organisation
you are interested in to see how many cases have been reported about them.

Datasets are available up to the end of 2017 and we intend to soon publish
information for 2018. Although we are behind at this time I can confirm
that we are looking at the first half of 2018 in bulk with a view to
publishing these statistics in the near future. Further documents will
then be published on a regular basis again.

Any reformulated request you may wish to make to the ICO will be treated
as a new FOI request, and the 20 working day time limit will begin again.

This concludes my response to your request. While I appreciate that this
was not the response you were hoping for, I hope I have clearly explained
the position of the ICO in relation to your request.
 
Review Procedure
 
However, if you are dissatisfied with this response and wish to request a
review of our decision or make a complaint about how your request has been
handled you can write to the Information Access Team at the address below
or e-mail [2][ICO request email].
 
Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response.  Any such request
received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the
Commissioner.
 
If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint
handler under the legislation. To make such an application, please write
to our Customer Contact Team at the address given or visit our website if
you wish to make a complaint under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
A copy of our [3]review procedure can be accessed from our website.

Yours sincerely
 
Shannon Keith
Senior Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office
 
T. 0330 313 1636
 

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...
2. mailto:[ICO request email]
3. https://ico.org.uk/media/1883/ico-review...