The Data Protection Act - Another worthless law ?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Troy, Jul 16, 2011.

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  1. If ever there was some piece of law that was so widely disregarded that it was worthless, it has to be the Data Protection Act...

    Thousands of people involved in disagreements with council staff have had their personal details stored on secret blacklists.
    Bureaucrats have listed the details of members of the public who have been involved in rows with teachers or dustmen over seemingly trivial matters.

    Scores of councils hold databases of ‘undesirables’ – individuals who could potentially pose a threat to their staff.

    They hold the details of almost 9,000 people, but most have never been charged with or convicted of a crime.

    Personal information such as car registration numbers, telephone numbers, household pets, nicknames and distinguishing features are listed on the databases.

    Read more: Thousands on secret council blacklists: Personal details kept of residents who dare to complain | Mail Online
  2. Sixty

    Sixty LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Cyclists and Triathletes

    No Daily Heil threads in CA please.
  3. The Intelligence Cell is hardly more suitable.
  4. Appologies if I've dropped a clanger here, it just seemed to make sense to me. Perhaps a kindly mod could shift it to another section...

    It isn't just the Daily Mail article though. I've held this view for ages now. When I got sent my first ever Database prog [LocoFile for the Amstrad PCW 8256] it came with a huge info pack about the DP Act and a card to register with the Data Protection Registrar. Clearly giving the impression that all keepers of Data would have to register and follow strict rules... Yeah, right, whatever! I never returned the card and a bet hardly anyone has bothered to since. Neither has anyone ever bothered to contact me to make sure my details are correct anywhere. And yet I get loads of junk mail from companies who have more than my basic contact details, and I know they share it.

    Data Protection Act? Worthless!
  5. maguire

    maguire LE Book Reviewer

    I dont think you know exactly what the DPA is for, do you?

    your name and address may be out there, but that could have come from a few places considered in the public domain (phone book? electoral roll?).

    however, without the DPA things would be a lot, lot worse. fancy anyone being able to call up your phone banking number and access all your information? phone up Sky and find out how many times you've been watching mucky films? *thats* what the DPA is there to stop.

    plus which, the councils havent broken the DPA by having such a database, as long as the information is held **securely**. as long as it's kept confidential, and not open to access or abuse by any third party, the councils are breaking no data protection laws here. they are being complete c**ts, I'll grant you, but they arent breaching the DPA.
  6. It's not the DPA that needs binning, it's the worthless, scumbags, elected by a very few number of cretins, to run local councils that need binning.

    Actually, I shouldn't use that metaphor: if you binned a local councillor, you'd have to spend half an hour wondering which bin to put him it and then the ***** who come to empty the bin would leave him there cos he's in the wrong coloured bag.

    Our street looks like Dresden after the clean up with piles of shite bunged into 780 bins (only 4 houses) in the vain hope that somebody might pop by and either recycle it, bin it, or eat it.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. The DPA was introduced with good intentions and if the letter and word of the law is followed then it is still a good thing.

    Sadly, when people sign at the bottom of a very long page of small printed text they generally do not read what it says above their signature. Then they wonder why their "Personal Data" is passed around all and sundry - not realising that one of the paragraphs they did not read stated clearly and in english that the "Data Subjects" collected "Personal Data" could be passed on to any and all organisations remotely connected to the "Data User" who had originally collected the data.

    The DPA was introduced to stop the data collection and swapsies free for all that was starting to happen in the mid 80's. "Persoanl Data" was being passed around and traded freely with no regard and no control over where it was going. THE DPA, believe it or not, actually puts certain controls on "Data Users" and limits what they can and cannot do with Data. I know of one bank that was fined 500,000 quid for using a customer database for a purpose that had not been declared to the Information Commision. Basically they used an accounts balance database to profile customers and then send out specific marketing letters to the customers.....naughty.

    I think that what Troy is actually worried about is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which was introduced in 2000, and was intended as a law enforcement tool to combat organised crime and terrorism. Sadly, the law allowed councils to use, abuse and misuse it.

    Councils warned over unlawful spying using anti-terror legislation - Telegraph

    Bottom line to minimise intrusion on your life:

    1. To stop getting junk mail - register with the Royal Mails preference service, Royal Mail

    2. To stop getting junk phone calls - register with the telephone preference service, TPS Registration

    3. To stop having the local authority passing your details to all and sundry you need to contact them and inform them that you wish to be removed from the electoral register. It is your right, take no BS.

    4. Always tick the box saying that you do not want to be used for marketing purposes, if you don't your details can go almost global.

    5. If anyone does contact you through a medium that you expressly forbade to pass on your details make a fuss, shout at them, threaten them with the Information Commisioner ................. you may get a couple of shirts from a well know Jermyn Street shirtmaker as a "sorry", I did.

    6. Frequently check your credit reports with Equifax and Experian. They hold more than you would want to know about on around 30 million people in the UK. Its also a good way of checking and preventing your ID being stolen or cloned.

    7. As a further personal security measure when you have finished using it shred anything with your name, address and any account numbers on it, even credit card transaction till receipts and junk mail.
  8. Boldnotold

    Boldnotold LE Book Reviewer

    And never enter 'free draws' where 'all you have to do is give us your name and address'.
  9. Or reply to those emails that all they need is your account number to hide the cash in
  10. Nearly, but not quite. That link stops the postman putting unaddressed junk through your letterbox such as 'The Householder' etc. Tis is a profit making scam invented by Royal Mail to get around the Mailing Preference Service which stops people sending mail to you for direct marketing by name, so register here Mail Preference Service as well, two clicks of the mouse and it is free.

    There is a whole industry that trades 'lists' of 'prospects' and gives good money for your name and address. All reputable direct marketing companies compare their mailshot lists with a monthly dump of the MPS database and remove listed people from the mailshots.

    They do however keep your information hoping that you will tick the wrong box in the future, as that will make you legit from then on. Re register with all three at least annually.
  11. What is the policy in case of a genuine scoop by The Mail?

    Just asking, it has got to be statistically possible.

  12. Nearly, but not quite ;-) Every six months for MPS and TPS. Do it religiously.

    The earlier advice about not throwing away anything with your name and address on cannot be stated enough. BUY A SHREDDER. They cost little enough. You are not looking to "securely" shred paper, simply make it easier to cut them up. And if you have a garden, compost the shreddings (simply because shredded paper makes excellent compost).

    ID theft is incredibly easy, and all it needs is one intact document with your name and address on. And mail redirection, despite RM's protests, is all too easily abused.

    BBC - Watchdog: Has your post gone missing?

    The full story showed that the PO had accepted a half completed JSA application form as one a form of "ID"!
  13. msr

    msr LE

    Are you sure? ICO says it doesn't need to use its 'big stick' • The Register

  14. msr

    msr LE

    Nearly, but not quite:

    1. The opt out service only relates to unaddressed mail. Royal Mail is still legally obliged to deliver all addressed mail, which includes mail that is addressed “To the Occupier” (or with any other generic recipient information), as well as mail that is personally addressed to you by name.
  15. Boldnotold

    Boldnotold LE Book Reviewer

    Mail addressed to 'The Occupier' is a tough one. Whilst most of it is junk trying to sell you stuff, I had one yesterday from my local council regarding a planning application. I wouldn't have wanted to opt out of that!

    (Mind you, as the councils know who I am due to paying council tax, they should be able to merge databases and address me by name. Suppose there's no money for anything useful like that.)