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Big Brother Watch: Dorset councils make thousands of pounds from selling your details
DORSET’S local authorities have sold the details of tens of thousands of voters to private companies.
Councils have made thousands of pounds after registers of voters’ names and addresses were sold to direct marketing firms, pizza delivery shops and estate agents.
The figures were exposed in a report by privacy pressure group Big Brother Watch, which has since condemned the practice and called for it to be scrapped.
It is believed North Dorset District Council has sold the most details, with 26 purchasers listed, although the total figure the information was sold for has not been given.
Poole Borough Council made £3,140.70 selling to an undisclosed number of organisations, the highest profit made by a local authority in the Bournemouth Echo’s distribution area.
Bournemouth Borough Council has sold details to 23 buyers, including marketing firms and insurance companies, making £2,070.70.
The authority in Christchurch made £495.72 selling to an undisclosed number of local businesses and individuals.
No figures have been provided for East Dorset District Council, and the county council is not responsible for electoral role data.
The fee for the sale of the Register of Electors is prescribed in law and cannot be varied by individual councils.
There is a transaction fee of £20 plus £1.50 per thousand names.
Two versions of the register exists – a full register, which lists the names and addresses of everyone registered to vote, and an edited version, which excludes the names of people who have opted out of having their name passed on.
Just three groups can buy details from the full register – government departments, organisations involved in safeguarding national security and credit referencing agencies.
Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles told a national newspaper that while it was important that the electoral register is a public document which anyone can freely inspect, this should not mean councils can sell personal information to private companies for financial gain.
He told the paper: “Registering to vote is a basic part of our democracy.
“It should not be a back door for our names and addresses to be sold to everyone and everyone.”
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