Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Plaid MEP approaches Information Commissioner over data protection concerns

Press Release. Datganiad i’r Wasg.

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans is to address concerns regarding the sale of personal data following an approach from several constituents, as well as Wrexham’s Plaid County Councillor Arfon Jones, who represents Gwersyllt West.  She has written to the Information Commissioner’s Office about the sale of customer data between mobile operator EE, a polling organisation, and the Metropolitan Police.

Jill Evans MEP, whose office is in Regent Street in Wrexham, said:

“If the details prove to be as reported, this would be a very worrying development, and demonstrates that data protection rules in the UK should be much stronger than they are. “Under the guise of ‘anonymisation’ – which appears to be far from foolproof – polling organisation Ipsos Mori would sell confidential information from mobile operator Everything Everywhere to the Metropolitan Police. “The data sold would apparently include gender, age, current location, postcode alongside details of interests, domestic and work activity, and friendship networks. An incredibly detailed picture profile of users can be built up, meaning individuals could be very easily identified. “Particularly unsettling are the details of the alleged conversations between Ipsos Mori and the Met regarding the ability to track individual protestors after demonstrations. The use of personal data in this way is clearly in breach of data protection laws and I will be supporting a forthcoming report on this issue in the European Parliament to tighten up the existing legislation.
 “The report will make it harder for such abuses to occur but there are calls from the Liberal Democrats for exemptions in its implementation in the UK. I am opposed to exemptions and believe that we should look at the German model where customers have to give their express consent before data about them can be used. “I have written to the Information Commissioner’s Office and await a response. In the meantime I ask any constituents concerned about the issue to contact me at jill.evans@europarl.europa.eu

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