Individual Electoral Registration and Electoral Administration - Political and Constitutional Reform Committee Contents

7  Treatment of personal data

85. How personal data is treated is clearly crucial to the success of and popular support for individual registration. The White Paper does not prescribe in detail the practicalities of how data submitted as part of an IER application or acquired through data matching should be treated.[90] In outline, the Government proposes that national insurance number data should be disposed of once an identity has been verified, while date of birth information should be retained (but not published) to help identify duplicate entries.[91]

86. Our witnesses generally had little to say about data protection and privacy issues. The memoranda from EURIM[92] and the London School of Economics[93] are notable exceptions. Michel Saminaden of SOLACE told us "in terms of coping technically, we will; we always do and we ... will come across data protection problems and we will have to deal with those as they come along".[94]

87. The Association of Electoral Administrators were confident that EROs would be able to deal with the retention and disposal of large amounts of data, stating that "we haven't seen the detail of how that will be handled, but whenever new challenges have been thrown at both the electoral profession and the suppliers, the IT suppliers who support them, generally it has worked".[95]

88. The Information Commissioner's Office do not have any concerns either: "we are pleased to note the importance attached to the security of personal data in these proposals and welcome the commitment demonstrated by the intention to introduce a fine or custodial sentence for misuse of data".[96]

89. The Government's proposals for data collection, retention, and disposal appear to us to be proportionate. However, much of the detail is still unknown.

90   Ev w23 Back

91   Cm 8108, para 25 Back

92   Ev w10 Back

93   Ev w21 Back

94   Q 144 Back

95   Q 144 Back

96   Ev w12 Back

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 4 November 2011