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Order allows public bodies to pass our confidential information to private organisations

Posted by James Hammerton @ 6:16 pm on 14 September, 2008.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, the database state.
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[Hat tip: Spy Blog]

The government recently issued a statutory instrument specifying the following organisations for the purposes of section 68 of the Serious Crime Act 2007:

  • Experian Limited
  • Insurance Fraud Investigators Group
  • N Hunter Limited
  • The Insurance Fraud Bureau
  • The Telecommunications United Kingdom Fraud Forum Limited.

The impact of this is to enable public bodies to share any data they hold about you, including confidential data, to any of the above organisations for the purposes of the detection, prevent or prosecution of fraud. E.g. section 68 reads:

(1) A public authority may, for the purposes of preventing fraud or a particular kind of fraud, disclose information as a member of a specified anti-fraud organisation or otherwise in accordance with any arrangements made by such an organisation.

(2) The information—

(a) may be information of any kind; and

(b) may be disclosed to the specified anti-fraud organisation, any members of it or any other person to whom disclosure is permitted by the arrangements concerned.

(3) Disclosure under this section does not breach—

(a) any obligation of confidence owed by the public authority disclosing the information; or

(b) any other restriction on the disclosure of information (however imposed).

(4) But nothing in this section authorises any disclosure of information which—

(a) contravenes the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29); or

(b) is prohibited by Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (c. 23).

Note that information of any kind can be disclosed even where an obligation of confidence exists. How long will it be before CDs or memory sticks holding such information go missing in transit to/from the organisations above?

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