British citizens don’t have to worry about hackers stealing their information and selling it. Their local governments are already doing that.
According to a report in today’s London Times, an obscure proviso in British law allows local government “councils” to sell voter information to direct marketing organizations without informing them of the sale.
Typically, political parties and credit reference agencies have bought the information, but recently a booming industry has sprung up around direct marketing — much of it aided by the sale of names and addresses by councils, according to the report.
Voters can opt out of the practice by checking a tick box when they vote, according to the report. The U.K. Information Commissioner and the Welcome Trust today called for the proviso — which has been in operation since 2002 — to be abolished.