November 22, 2017

Give us the right to defend the elderly and children’s privacy, say campaigners

Government was told that vulnerable consumers need independent protection by a group of campaigners in a letter to the Minister of State for Digital, Matt Hancock, today


Campaigners asked for the right for organisations to seek redress directly, when personal data is abused, without having to seek out individual complainants.

This could be hard when the victims are young, old, or simply not aware of the problem.

As the Bill stands, individuals will be able to take up their own cases but in many cases that might require more time or technical knowledge than most people possess. The current system does not allow organisations, such as consumer protection agency Which?, to follow up on flaws it uncovers.

The option for consumer organisations to be allowed to make independent complaints exists under Article 80(2) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The letter to Matt Hackcock says:

“Article 80(1)...is inadequate on it’s own in holding organisations to account. Further, given the potential scale of data breaches and the breach notification duty, a mechanism under Article 80(2) would save significant administrative and court time.

“It is time for the Government to do the right thing...This would give consumers the voice they deserve when holding companies to account for loss of data.”

“The young, the elderly and people who simply don’t know their data has been abused will be defenceless without this change,” said Jim Killock Executive Director of the Open Rights Group.

“The government says it wants to protect people’s privacy, so it should give consumer organisations the tools to do the job.”

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Notes for the editor

This is an amendment which has been submitted to the Data Protection Bill referring to the General Data Protection Regulation that comes into full force on the 25th May 2018.

Read the letter here