Emma’s Diary fined £140,000 over data misuse

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Emma’s Diary fined £140,000 over data misuse

A parenting advice site has been fined £140,000 after it was accused of illegally collecting data and selling it on for use by the Labour Party, which used it to profile new mums.

Emma’s Diary gathered data on more than a million people, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which issued the fine.

Labour used the information in the run up to the 2017 General Election.

Previously, Lifecycle Marketing, which owns Emma’s Diary, denied wrong-doing.

It told the BBC it would be issuing a statement shortly.

Political parties commonly buy personal information to target their campaigns, but they must obtain appropriate consent from the providers.

Last month Labour said that it would review its “approach to acquiring data from third parties” in light of the ICO’s concerns.

‘Complex relationship’

“The relationship between data brokers, political parties and campaigns is complex,” said Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner.

“Even though this company was not directly involved in political campaigning, the democratic process must be transparent.”

The ICO said that Emma’s Diary originally sold 1,065,200 records to a branch of credit reference agency Experian, specifically for use by Labour.

Each record included:

  • the name of the parent who had joined Emma’s Diary
  • their home address
  • whether children up to the age of five were present
  • the birth dates of the mother and children

Labour used a database created by Experian to profile new mums.

Then, women living in areas with marginal seats were targeted with direct mail marketing by Labour.

The ICO has notified all of the UK’s 11 main political parties that it will audit their data-sharing practices in 2018.

More to follow

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