Local councils across the UK have been barred from using the DVLA’s database and many more have received official warnings after they were caught abusing the system.
Instead of using it the DVLA database - which holds personal information of every car owner in the UK - to track down the owners of abandoned vehicles, the Sunday Express has revealed that Town Hall bureaucrats have been caught using it as a means to spy on residents who are suspected of trivial offences that have nothing to do with motoring, such as littering and pet control:
An audit of 155 of the 432 local authorities allowed to use the database showed that the DVLA’s system was accessed 750 times a day in the 2009/10 financial year.
However, it was discovered that councils were using the system to track down people for a variety of offences including horse fouling, littering and owning out-of-control dogs.
The DVLA sent out letters to chief executives of 56 authorities where serious breaches of the system had been uncovered and the councils received a red coded warning.
A further 99 also received warnings about abusing the system and 12 which failed to make the changes requested by the DVLA have been banned altogether.
This sort of prying into people’s personal data is not only in breach of contract but is often illegal. It is yet another example of the ways in which local councils use ‘big brother’ tactics to keep tabs on residents who are either are accused of minor misdemeanours or completely law abiding citizens.
This kind of snooping is definitely a trend the government needs to eradicate.
By Hannah Dedman