Croydon Council makes over £2,500 selling your name and address to private companies
Croydon Council made over £2,500 selling the personal details of residents registered to vote to private companies, a new report has found.
Over the last five years the names and addresses of those on the edited electoral register have been sold to 21 companies that include Halifax, Streets Ahead and Townends Estate Agents, Croydon College and Sutton and East Surrey Water, making the council £2,596.50.
At present 107,000 people, 41 per cent of the electoral role, are on the edited register. The council has said Government legislation requires all councils to sell the data if someone requests it.
Residents who sign up to vote automatically have their names included on the edited version of the register, unless they choose to opt out of having their information passed on.
The electoral register is available to anyone to view in person, but those on the edited register database can have their details sold on to companies and directing marketing firms, adding to the amount of junk mail they receive.
Privacy pressure group Big Brother Watch who carried out the research, condemned the practice and called for the edited register to be scrapped.
Nick Pickles director of Big Brother Watch said while it was important the electoral register could be freely inspected as a public document, it does not mean councils should be able to sell personal information to private companies for financial gain.
He said: "Registering to vote is a basic part of our democracy. It should not be a back door for our names and address to be sold to anyone and everyone.
"The edited register is a pointless waste of council time, undermines trust in the electoral system and contributes to huge volumes of junk mail. It should be abolished."
A spokesman for Croydon Council said: "We are bound by legislation to make this list available but our website makes it quite clear to people that if they don’t opt out of the edited register they may receive unsolicited marketing literature."
Those wishing to permanently opt out of edited register can do so by writing to Croydon Council.
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