UK: Santa and privacy law

December 12, 2007 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

‘Tis the festive season so it’s time to ask Santa Claus if he’s breaking privacy laws in his collection and use of data about British children.

The experts’ verdict: “there is no evidence that Claus has an adequate compliance programme in place.” Alleged infractions include:

– “Children across Britain who write letters to Claus with a list of gift requests are not told for how long that data is kept, or if it will be used for other purposes such as marketing by third parties.

– The Data Protection Act stipulates that data should not be kept for longer than necessary, which would mean 25th December, though Claus may argue that he needs to keep the letters for six years to use in any gift-related lawsuits.

– Information passes out of the EU, so does Santa check the letters for unambiguous, specific, and informed consent to this overseas transfer?

– Are children given notice that behavioural data is being collected about them throughout the year? And does it qualify as covert monitoring, which would breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights?

People can make a subject access request of databases holding their personal information, but the database operator has 40 days in which to respond. Children are now too late, therefore, to find out before Christmas if they are on the naughty or nice section of the system.”

Santa, are you listening?

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Entry filed under: identity, personal_info, privacy, UK.

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