The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined Emma’s Diary £140,000 for illegally selling and collecting personal information belonging to a million people.
The case formed as part of ICO’s investigation into “data analytics for political purposes”.
Lifecycle Marketing, who were trading as Emma’s Diary, stated in the ICO document that it was circulated and distributed “870,000 copies” a year as a “mother-and-baby publication”.
How Was The Information Sold?
Emma’s Diary, who specialised in providing advice for pregnancy and childcare for mothers sold 1,065,220 records to Experian Marketing Services.
The marketing division of the Irish-based credit reporting agency used the sold information, specifically for the Labour Party to use.
Experian then created a database for the party to use to profile new mums in the build-up to the 2017 General Election.
The Labour Party was able to use that database generated from Experian to send mail directly to mums who lived in “marginal areas” across the UK for its intention to protect Sure Start Children’s Centres.
Stephen Walsh, Senior Director, Security for CA Technologies told Computer Business Review: “Undoubtedly, businesses must primarily ensure that they are firstly using and selling data legally and responsibly.
“However, even businesses with compliant data collection and use must ensure that data sharing is clearly articulated to consumers when they choose to engage with that organisation. Greater transparency on data protection policies is required as currently just one in three UK consumers claim to receive this information.”
Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner for the Information Commissioner’s Office commented: “The relationship between data brokers, political parties and campaigns is complex. Even though this company was not directly involved in political campaigning, the democratic process must be transparent.
“All organisations involved in political campaigning must use personal information in ways that are transparent, lawful and understood by the UK public.”