Thursday, 21 July 2011

Council blacklists

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.

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.

In many councils hundreds of staff can access personal information about people logged as a potential threat, even though they have no contact with the public and so could never be in danger.

Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, has warned councils that they have a legal duty to keep the information secure.

He said councils should inform residents who are on the database, setting out how they ended up on it. Only in extreme cases where a council believed that telling a resident they were on the list would lead to a violent reaction should they not approach the individual.

My comment: An example of how a council can get it wrong! 

In December 2005, Mrs Clift received a letter from the council to say she had been put on the register of potentially violent people.

After a four-year legal battle, the High Court ordered Slough Council to pay her £12,000 in libel damages.

My comment: The problem with the Clift case is that you need to know you are on a list in the first place. How many people are unknowingly on a council blacklist? Only way to confirm that you are on a blacklist is to submit a Data Protection request to the council, and therein lies the problem! 

Read the full story from the source Mail on Line

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