The Hangover

Another day, another story in the Observer about Dominic Cummings and the Brexit vote, inspired (if that is ever the right word in this context) by revelations from Ian Lucas, the former MP for Wrexham. Lucas did not stand in the 2019 General Election and his former seat went to the Tories. Notwithstanding his decision […]

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Open Goal

The OpenRightsGroup currently have a tool on their website to make subject access requests to political parties; they say that it is intended to investigate political profiling: “Who do political parties think we are?” is the heading on the page. There is definitely a problem with the way all parties use personal data, and the […]

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Hare-brained

Most people have little routines that they enjoy on a Sunday. Doing a spot of gardening, going for a run – I know one person who relishes his Sunday trip to the tip. For me, a minor weekend pleasure is the masochistic ritual of reading a maddeningly ill-informed article about Data Protection in the Guardian […]

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Low Profile

The use of personal data to advance political causes has never had as high a profile as it does now, thanks mainly to Brexit and the lurid tales of data manipulation usually bundled under the vague heading of the ‘Cambridge Analytica scandal’. Thanks to the efforts of certain journalists, the narrative is now fixed. Cambridge […]

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Mistaken Identity

Over the past week, numerous excited stories have covered a talk given by James Pavur, an Oxford University researcher and Rhodes Scholar, at the Blackhat Convention in Las Vegas. With his girlfriend’s consent, Pavur made 150 subject access requests in her name. In what the BBC called a ‘privacy hack’ until they were shamed into changing the […]

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Mates’ Rates

A while ago, I noticed an FOI request sent to the Information Commissioner’s Office on the website What Do They Know? I always keep an eye on requests made to Wilmslow, but this one was especially intriguing. It asked about payments made by ICO to external suppliers and consultants where the work had not been put […]

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Lateral Thinking

Last week, I wrote a blog about the ‘personal data agency’ Yo-Da, outlining my concerns about their grandiose claims, the lack of detail about how their service works and their hypocritical decision to ignore a subject access request I made to them. Predictably, this led to further online tussles between myself and Benjamin Falk, the […]

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A Boy’s Best Friend is his Data

Just over a month ago, I enjoyed a series of bad-tempered Twitter exchanges with Benjamin Falk, Founder and “Chief Talker” of the personal data outfit Yo-Da. Falk has an interesting perspective on Data Protection. Instead of coming to DP through the traditional routes of information management, security, governance or the law, Falk is an ‘information economist’. […]

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The Curse of the Padlock

One of the dangers of working in Data Protection is the risk of becoming a pedant. Precision matters; court cases have turned on the meaning of individual words like ‘likely’ and ‘distress’. The legislation is a maze of definitions and concepts that the competent practitioner needs to get to grips with. Lazy thinking can be […]

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