Posts Tagged ‘ data protection ’

Caught by #clypegate ? How to make a Data Protection complaint

Introduction

#clypegate

The Labour Party has issued a “dossier” to journalists of “abuse” by SNP members on twitter. Labour may have broken Data Protection law, and this post describes how, if you are in the dossier, you can make a complaint against the Labour Party to the Information Commissioner, for free. There are sample letters at the bottom.

Before I start, I’d like to say to all the people in the dossier: even if you’ve said something you shouldn’t have, we have all done that at least once. You have the movement’s solidarity. Nobody should be abusive on Twitter, and in some cases maybe the party will need to send you a reprimand.

But I know most of you are ordinary, decent people who have had one or two angry moments highlighted and sent to newspapers with the ability to broadcast their own to abuse to hundreds of thousands of people. You don’t deserve that.

Possible grounds for complaint

I am not a lawyer: this blog post contains my own and others’ opinions and is not in any way legal advice.

There are three grounds for complaint that jump out at me:

1) According to Tim Turner (you should read his full post), you can complain on the grounds that the use of your data was not “fair” – Labour do not have a right to collect data on you and then distribute it to third parties in secret.

2) Also according to Tim Turner, to use your personal data, Labour require one of: “consent, a contract, a legal power or obligation, to be protecting vital interests, or a legitimate interest.” In his view, none of these conditions is met.

3) In my view, the leak of the document breaches the requirement that your data should be processed securely.

How to complain

Only the Information Commissioner can say for sure if there has been a breach. It is well worth asking him to investigate.

1) Call 0303 123 1113, the Information Commission helpline. They can advise you on your rights and the complaints process.

2) Write to the Labour Party to complain (sample letter below), as the Information Commission requires you to do this:

The Labour Party
Labour Central, Kings Manor
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6PA

3) If you are not satisfied, send a letter to the Information Commissioners for the UK and Scotland (sample letter below):

UK

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Scotland

The Information Commissioner’s Office – Scotland
45 Melville Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7HL

Sample letter to the Labour Party

[Your full address]
[Phone number]
[The date]

The Labour Party

Dear Sir / Madam,

Information rights concern
[Your full name and address and your twitter handle from the dossier]

I am concerned that you have not handled my personal information properly.

Personal data about me was included in a “dossier” provided to the Scottish press by your employee Blair McDougall. I believe this information may have been mishandled as:

1) It was not a fair use of the data. The Labour Party does not have a right to collect and process information on individuals and distribute it in secret.

2) The Labour Party does not have my consent, a contract with me, a legal power or obligation, is not protecting vital interests, and does not have a legitimate interest in processing and distributing this data.

3) My data was not held securely, and was leaked on the public internet.

I understand that before reporting my concern to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) I should give you the chance to deal with it.

If, when I receive your response, I would still like to report my concern to the ICO, I will give them a copy of it to consider.

You can find guidance on your obligations under information rights legislation on the ICO’s website (www.ico.org.uk) as well as information on their regulatory powers and the action they can take.

Please send a full response within 28 calendar days. If you cannot respond within that timescale, please tell me when you will be able to respond.

If there is anything you would like to discuss, please contact me on the following number [telephone number].

Yours faithfully
[Signature]

Sample Letter to the Information Commissioner

[Your full address]
[Phone number]
[The date]

The Information Commissioner

Dear Sir / Madam,

Information rights concern
[Your full name and address and your twitter handle from the dossier]

I am concerned that the Labour Party have not handled my personal information properly. I have reported this to the Labour Party, and am not satisfied with their response. I request that you urgently investigate this potential data protection breach.

Personal data about me was included in a “dossier” provided to the Scottish press by their employee Blair McDougall. I believe this information may have been mishandled as:

1) It was not a fair use of the data. The Labour Party does not have a right to collect and process information on individuals and distribute it in secret.

2) The Labour Party does not have my consent, a contract with me, a legal power or obligation, is not protecting vital interests, and does not have a legitimate interest in processing and distributing this data.

3) My data was not held securely, and was leaked on the public internet.

Please find attached my letter to the Labour Party.

If there is anything you would like to discuss, please contact me on the following number [telephone number].

Yours faithfully
[Signature]

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