Pandering for Complaints

Yesterday I mentioned that the UK has joined the ranks of censors of Google and is attempting to fine tune search results for a given name. Censorship of Google Spreads to the UK.

Today, Simon Rice of the Information Commissioner’s Office, posted: Personal data in leaked datasets is still personal data.

Simon starts off by mentioning the Ashley Madison data dumps and then says:

Anyone in the UK who might download, collect or otherwise process the leaked data needs to be aware they could be taking on data protection responsibilities defined in the UK’s Data Protection Act.

Similarly, seeking to identify an individual from a leaked dataset will be an intrusion into their private life and could also lead to a breach of the DPA.

Individuals will have a range of personal reasons for having created an account with particular online services (or even had an account created without their knowledge) and any publication of further personal data without their consent can cause them significant damage or distress.

It’s worth noting too that any individual or organisation seeking to rely on the journalism exemption should be reminded that this is not a blanket exemption to the DPA and be encouraged to read our detailed guide on how the DPA applies to journalism.

Talk about chilling free speech. You shouldn’t even look to see if the data is genuine. Just don’t look!

You could let your “betters” in the professional press tell you what they want you to know, but I suspect you are brighter than that. What are the press motives behind what you see and what you don’t?

To make matters even worse, Simon closes with a solicitation for complaints:

If you find your personal data being published online then you have a right to go to that publisher and request that the information is removed. This applies equally to information being shared on social media. If the publisher is based in the UK and fails to remove your information you can complain to the ICO.

I don’t have a lot of extra webspace but if you get a complaint from the ICO, I’m willing to host whatever data I can. It won’t be much so don’t get too excited about free space.

We all need to step up and offer storage space for content censored by the UK and others.

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