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« The Data Protection Officer's ABC | Main | Watch out for the Data Protection Regulation at end of January »

11/01/2012

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I feel like I may have missed something here.

Regardless of the intended audience of the website, so, for example a personal blog or a 'mini-site' for a family dedicated to 'What we did last summer', if the internet at large is able to access it, the site and the information on it cannot be said to be for 'domestic purposes'?

This doesn't feel right to me.

I certainly agree that in the Solicitors from Hell case the site owner actively solicited and published information given to him by the public and by doing so I feel lost his ability to rely on any domestic purposes exception but if his website just dealt with his own, personal, experiences with the legal system then how is that not covered by Article 10?

From your article, the ECJ judgement seems to imply that there can be no freedom of expression on the internet simply due to the fact that it is on the internet. A rather perverse state of affairs don't you think?

In my opinion the ICO does express a view on the legal issues from time to time. On the question of single person discounts he has on his web site a comment which in my view (and the view of a number of others) falsely reflects council tax discount law. Even when sent a briefing on this law produced by a solicitor for the Audit Commission (which is not fully comprehensive) which demonstrated that the 'legal'advice on the full electoral register and council tax discounts on the ICO's own web site is wrong, the ICO could take no action, claiming, in what appears to be a self contradictory manner, that it was unable to comment on legal issues, very much along the lines set out in your article.

However, the office did comment that in their view it was 'unlikely' that the Audit Commission has got it (council tax discount law) wrong, which is also annoying because there appears to be some internal confusion within that department and even though **** (named civil servant) at the Dept of Communities wrote to them on this issue they persist in publishing on their secure web site highly damaging allegations about the significance of one of their data analytic exercises. By the way, at last somebody is taking notice of this issue albeit not in Privacy Terms: it hit the Guardian consumer pages that, courtesy of Experian Ltd's data bases, people are being graded, using what may be called 'data matching' by some but is actually a statistical process in terms of the chances they are frauds, and subjected to investigations aka 'reviews' on that basis. Thank you for reading this. Sorry if it is garbled. Very interesting Blog post on 'lawful processing'.

The person whose name is represented with the symbols *** at the Dept of Communities was not a civil servant but an Under Secretary of State...

On the subject of the ICO and his vires to make legal judgements on matters other than the DP Act, I refer you to the comments that office made in Decision Notice FS50277167.

You will note that the ICO stated that the Audit Commission had the power to collate information to 'indicate whether the claim is being made on a fraudulent basis'.

One does not have to have read much law to realise that in respect of a mens rea offence no amount of data matching could indicate that a claim was being made on a 'fraudulent' basis.

However, a little knowledge of the Local Government Finance Act tells one that the situation in question, the one in which the Audit Commission expects investigations to take place is in fact perfectly legal and proper.

But the point relevant to your article is that in a DECISION NOTICE ICO staff clearly took a 'legal position' and drew legal conclusions and published them.

The self evidence absurdity of the grounds upon which this decision notice was based given the contents of this decision notice need no comment from me!

The ICO refused to make the AC disclose its interpretation of the match on the basis that doing this would alert criminals but it did this in a notice which ITSELF contained an interpretation of the match.

I also draw your attention to the Consent Order relevant to this notice.

Some months after I launched an F of I Tribunal, the Audit Commission, for no good reason that I have ever had made clear to me, and possibly in my view, because I made it clear that I intended to argue that the legally inaccurate nature of the AC's secret guidance most certainly affected the public interest test, decided to cough up the guidance in question.

The judge suggested that I should ask for it again and I did and they provided it and then I decided that the effort in getting the absurd ICO decision overturned was probably more effort than it was worth.

But the main point here is that the 'legal opinion' of the ICO as evidenced in its Decision Notice was so over the top that even the Audit Commission demurred.

And you will see from the consent order (now on the F of I Tribunal Web site) that what I say is true.

Therefore there are a number of pressing issues relating to this matter of the ICO taking up and propounding legal positions relating to matters outwith the DP Act.

Thank you for reading this.

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