Laura Wild of Rochdale Online seems convinced that Rochdale Borough Council breached Data Protection rules when they gave out the mobile phone numbers of 1000 people for a research program:
The research, being carried out by London Company, OCR International, on behalf of the council, has been slammed by the public, not only for wasting money but because the council provided the company with private mobile numbers.
When Rochdale Online approached the council about this a spokesperson said: “The survey complies, in full, with the Data Protection Act and we took advice from the Commissioner’s office before carrying it out.
“Research activity is covered under Section 33 of the Act. No personal data is extracted alongside the telephone numbers and consent is sought at the start of each phone call so as to avoid any distress.
“Ultimately, this survey will help us to better understand our customers and to make improvements to our services.”
However, the Act states, even for activities covered under Section 33:
The data subject must be made fully aware (at the time of consent) what the data controller intends to do with the data.
When the council was asked if each individual person had consented to their number being given out they refused to comment any further.
Read more on Rochdale Online.