Govt data sharing plan branded ‘attack on privacy’

Whitehall_LondonPrivacy groups have cried foul over Government plans to allow the taxman to start sharing data with town halls in a move which would enable officials to chase up council tax arrears and unpaid parking fines.
The plan, included in the controversial Digital Economy Bill, would permit data to be shared between government bodies, including Whitehall departments, agencies like HMRC and local authorities across England and Wales.
Consumers will not be able to object to their data being shared, or asked for their consent.
Campaign group MedConfidential branded the move a “wholesale attack on privacy” and added: “Town hall officials will get access to your tax records on the pretext of helping you pay debts, but they will do so without you knowing and with few safeguards.”
Meanwhile Big Brother Watch chief executive Renate Samson said: “It is conceivable that local officials will request tax records to investigate why someone hasn’t paid a council-issued fine, such as a parking ticket.”
However, the Government maintains the new powers will help recover up to £40bn owed to the State.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “None of these proposals will allow council snooping or powers to spy on people: it’s allowing one bit of government to share (existing) data with another part of government.
“We want to be able to do things like target fuel poverty to give financial support to those most in need so they aren’t cold in their homes, and clamp down hard on criminal acts of benefit fraud.”

Related stories
MPs unite to slag off £15bn direct marketing sector
MP claims DM sector is run by rogues and shysters
MPs set to back shake-up of direct marketing laws
Call for industry to shape marketing law revolution
Brands face court action for breaching DM guidance

Print Friendly

To leave a comment please register – it takes less than a minute and is free of charge. You will also get our weekly email update The DM Report (to opt out contact subscriptions@decisionmarketing.co.uk). If you are an existing user, please log in. If you have forgotten your log-in details please email info@decisionmarketing.co.uk to get them reset!

Existing Users Log In
 Remember Me  
New User Registration
*Required field