Councils free to pass on my data

It is good news to see that the 1998 Data Protection Act is now fully in effect (MW November 1), but I am interested to find out the effect it may have on the data held by local councils through the electoral register. On a form recently sent to me by Camden Council, a printed statement informed me that it is illegal not to hand over my correct personal details or to ignore the form.

As I started filling it in, I looked for the opt-out box by which I could indicate that my details won’t be passed on to a third party. There was no box. I called the council and asked how I could request that my personal details are kept confidential. I was told that, although the Government has legally enforced the Data Protection Act, the council is exempt from the act and is therefore able to pass on details to those who ask for them.

Here is my moral dilemma – I want to be eligible to vote but I don’t want my details made available to any company which goes to the local library or wishes to pay &£40 for the register to be sent out to it.

Surely it is also a legal dilemma and I want to know how the Government will be responding to its own legislation.

If political parties are wondering why fewer people vote, perhaps one reason is that people like me refuse to be bound by the arrogant bureaucracy of local councils, which look for more ways to make money from their voters thus forcing people to ‘disappear’ from the system.

Name and partial address supplied



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