Following the Information Commissioner's warning to political parties and campaign groups yesterday, BBW Director Daniel Hamilton has today written to the Directors of each of the UK political parties represented in the House of Commons, European Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly asking them to publicly outline their internal data protection procedures. The letter has also been sent to No2AV and Yes in May, the recognised organisations campaigning in favour and against the introduction of the Alternative Vote.
Hamilton's letter reads as follows:
Dear <Party Director>,
You will, no doubt, have had sight of the comments by the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham regarding the importance of political parties and campaign groups adhering scrupulously to data protection laws when campaigning in the upcoming Alternative Vote referendum and local and national elections.
The Information Commissioner’s document (‘Guidance for political parties for campaigning or promotional purposes’) outlines the legal requirements incumbent on political parties and campaign groups when “using direct mail, emails, text messages, phone canvassing and automated phone calls” for electoral purposes.
With 47 million British citizens eligible to take part in this year’s elections, political parties and campaigning organisations will be charged with handing vast amounts of sensitive personal information, particularly in relation to the voting intention of individual members of the public. At this time of heightened political tensions, embodied most recently by the violence at the anti-cuts rally in Central London on March 26th, it is more important than ever that this sensitive information is rigourously safeguarded.
It is our intention, in the spirit of openness, to make your response publicly available on our website.
Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to respond.
With every good wish,
The letter has been sent to:
- Norman Green - Chief Operating Officer, Conservative Party
- Ray Collins - General Secretary, Labour Party
- Chris Fox - Chief Executive, Liberal Democrats
- Lisa Duffy - Party Director, UK Independence Party
- Jayne Forbes - Chairman, Green Party
- Peter Murrell - Chief Executive, SNP
- Gwenllian Landsdown - Chief Executive, Plaid Cymru
- Jim Wilson - Chief Executive, Ulster Unionist Party
- Allan Ewart - Chief Executive, Democratic Unionist Party
- Gary Fleming - Elections Director, Sinn Fein
- Michael Savage - Chief Executive, SDLP
- Gerry Lynch - Chief Executive, Alliance Party
- Chief Executive, British National Party
- William Norton - National Agent, No2AV
- Willie Sullivan - National Agent, Yes in May
Full copies of the responses received from each of the political parties and campaign groups will be posted on this blog as they are received.