This case is about:

  • re-using publicly available information; and
  • disclosing personal information.

Mrs T was searching for some information online when she discovered her name and address on a directory website. Mrs T couldn’t understand what had happened as she’d never given her details to this company.

Mrs T emailed the company straight away to find out how they’d got her name and address. She also asked them to remove her details.

The organisation explained that it had taken her details from a recent version of the electoral register and so they would not remove her information from their website.

Mrs T wrote to us to complain about the way her information was being used. However, we explained that because she was listed on the electoral register, we could not prevent it from being used in this case.

We also told Mrs T that there were actually two versions of the electoral register, the full version and an edited version.

The edited version of the electoral register can be sold to anyone who wants to buy it, for example by some online directory sites. The full version is only used for certain limited purposes and is not sold on in this way.

We therefore advised Mrs T to contact her local council to find out how she could ‘opt out’ of edited versions of the register that could be sold on. Once she had done that, she would be in a better position to ask any directory websites to remove her details.