Posts Tagged ‘data protection’

Is your local council spying on you?

January 26, 2012

An elderly lady living in Lincolnshire had her Single Person Council Tax Allowance (discount on property tax for single person occupancy) stopped. [see You and Yours]

When she queried this with her local council North Kesteven she was told this was done on the basis of additional data. Adiditional data? This set alarm bells ringing. The lady queried what additional data? Getting information out of local councils who forget they are there to serve the public is always akin to getting blood out of a stone. She was told a check had been made on her with Experian, a credit rating agency, and that monitoring of her post showed another person was living with her.

There was no one else living with her. Her daughter who lives outside the UK uses her mother’s address as a post box for her mail.

Experian denied they were monitoring post, but freely admitted North Kesteven had asked for checks on people. Experian also volunteered that they were performing this service for more than 200 other councils and that other credit rating agencies were doing the same.

It is one thing for a local council to pursue possible fraud where they have got good grounds to believe there is fraud, it is quite another to trawl through innocent people in the hope it may throw up some fraud.

Police have to obtain a Search Warrant for very good reasons, they have to have grounds. They cannot simply wander into everyone’s homes in the hope they may find evidence of a few crimes being committed.

If a bank wishes to do a credit check on you, they have to obtain your written consent. The council was not offering a loan. The council did not seek written consent. Apparently a notice in a local paper that no one reads (and who reads the official notices at the back anyway) was deemed as obtaining consent.

If a bank does a credit check (and the information held is often wrong) the fact that they see flagged up a local council had done a credit check, they may wonder why, decide not to take the risk and refuse the loan.

It has yet it be answered why or how this lady’s mail was being monitored.

I have of late being getting mail for unknown persons, including a Mr Paito. Does this mean all these people are living in my house? Where are they, hidden away in my cellars? I suspect some scam is taking place.

Not many people realise local councils can quite legally mount electronic surveillance on their local citizens. They should never have been granted these powers as they were open to abuse, and that is exactly what has happened. Less than 5% are genuine investigations. Upset a senior official, highlight corruption and maladministration (which is rampant in local councils), challenge the council in Court, then there is a good chance you have been placed under electronic surveillance.

Filled out any forms? You will notice there is usually pages and pages of questions that have no relevance for the purpose of the form. They have no relevance. They are crude trawls for information. Only provide what is relevant. If told you have to fill out the rest, challenge it, ask for the relevant statutory authority. There is usually none.

Never give a phone number. Do people never pause and think, why do I get all these junks calls? I never get any. Why? Because I do not hand out my phone number.

Councils are covered by Data Protection, but one would not think so. They are quite caviller in handing personal information to third parties without client consent.

I have direct personal experience of dishonest council officials knowingly passing on confidential client information to equally dishonest third parties. I am still waiting for these dishonest officials to be prosecuted for what is at the end of the day a criminal offence. They are still in post.

What personal information was handed to the credit reference agencies? At a guess: Name, address, date of birth.

Individuals are also caviller with their personal information. They post on facebook: date of birth, place of birth, school, university, partner etc etc. All should be removed, but I suggest first post false information to overwrite the databases then remove.

We have become used to CCTV monitoring our every move. It has nothing to do with crime. If it has, why do town centres like Guildford become no go areas Friday and Saturday nights when drunken thugs run rampage, the town centres not safe for decent folk to walk at night?

In Aberdeen the local council is monitoring the visitors to a tower block. Newham, one of the London Rotten Boroughs, requires a register to be kept of visitors to tower blocks. Even the Sun was outraged, not a rag renowned for its concerns with privacy and human rights.

Aberdeen Council wants to see your visitors
Local authority data loss exposed

Face to Facebook

February 4, 2011

I do not like to say I told you so. I have repeatedly warned people about putting personal information on facebook. If you do not care about ID theft, then that is fine.

Facebook is not a neutral platform, it is not a social networking site, it is a data collection surveillance site. It collects personal information on you.

Face to Facebook have just demonstrated just how easily that can be done. They have not done it to make money out of you, as others do, but to show how easy it is to obtain your personal data.

They did so by stealing one million Facebook profiles, filtering them with face-recognition software, and then, posting them on a custom-made dating website, sorted by their facial expressions characteristics.

Of course facebook could become a genuine social networking company (which sadly many if not most users think it is), held in ownership by it users as a not-for-profit social business for the benefit of its users, no advertising, no facebook apps scams to steal your personal data, no selling of personal data, but greed writ large seems to have got in the way.

“Dating” site imports 250,000 Facebook profiles, without permission
Disruption Talk
Goldman Sachs suffers Facebook fiasco
Muhammad Yunus and social enterprise