Stephen Kinnock voices concern after Conservative HQ refuses to give clear answers about use of personal data.
The Information Commissioner’s Office must “urgently investigate” the Conservative party for possible “illegal use of data”, according to Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, after it repeatedly refused to answer a series of questions over its use of personal data.
Under the 1998 Data Protection Act, it is illegal to process “sensitive” data – a category that includes “political opinions” – without explicit consent from the individuals concerned. But despite numerous attempts by the Observer to contact Conservative HQ last week, the party refused to say if it is using any data, modelling or insight gathered during the referendum campaigns for use in the current general election.
Kinnock, the Labour candidate for Aberavon, who has filed complaints with the CPS and Metropolitan Police regarding what he believes are breaches of the law by the Leave campaigns – claims which they deny – said the refusal to give clear answers about the possible use of that data in this election raised urgent new questions.
“The Tories need to urgently disclose exactly what data they have and what they are doing with it. It’s illegal to collect sensitive political data for one purpose and then use it for another. The Data Protection Act clearly states that.
“You can’t have a functioning democracy without transparency. It’s clearly in the public interest to have this information. This must now be referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which needs to give this their urgent attention. The election is less than two weeks away, and the authorities have an obligation to defend our democracy.”