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Intellectual Property Law


You vote - we sell!


The BBC has today reported that a government backed review lead by Information Commissioner Richard Thomas and Wellcome Trust director Dr Mark Walport has condemned the recent practice of local authorities selling voters' details to marketing companies. See

In particular the report indicated that the public ought to have a right to know which companies possess their personal details. The report also criticised the public and private sectors in general by indicating that the act of data-sharing was "shrouded in confusion," with the public oblivious to how their personal information was being used by companies.

Councils have hit back. They are in fact "more than happy" to cease selling edited details on the electoral roll because of administrative hassle and cost involved. In fact Local Government Association spokesman Edward Welsh has been reported to say that Councils have only carried out this activity because they were forced to by the government in 2002 due to changed rules.

The BBC article which directly relates to the public's privacy rights comes just days after recent media reports of web giant Google planning to extend its Google Earth product so that it covers views of


's streets, potentially warts and all. Whilst the government backed review focussing on breaches of privacy rights by Councils is commendable, will the government show any interest in potential privacy breaches by the world's information gateway?

Full post as published by IMPACT on July 11, 2008 (boomark / email).

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