Wealden sold data from electoral roll

Wealden District Counci
Wealden District Counci

Wealden District Council sold data from the electoral roll for more than £1,000 over a five year period, figures have revealed.

From estate agents to planning consultants and steam engine attractions to schools, Wealden District Council has sold £1,716 worth of personal data, which includes lists of peoples names, to companies and organisations.

Wealden District Council said councils are obliged to sell this information at a price set by central government.

The edited register was introduced in 2002 after concerns over the full version of the electoral roll being put on sale.

Councils are allowed to sell the edited electoral register for profit.

Details on the register include people’s name, address and age.

The edited register differs from the full register because councils cannot sell the full register to anyone other than to select bodies including Government departments, the police and credit referencing agencies.

People can also choose to opt out of the edited register.

Some voters have opted out of appearing on the edited list.

The figure for Wealden was revealed in a Freedom of Information request by campaign group Big Brother Watch.

It showed Wealden had sold information 26 times which was among the highest in the country.

Big Brother Watch said some people may be unaware what is happening to their information and not know they can opt out permanently.

Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles said: “Registering to vote is a basic part of our democracy and should not be a back door for our names and addresses 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.”

At least 307 councils have sold information from the edited register over the five years covered by the report.

There have been at least 2,742 sales of the edited register over the five years and sale of the edited register amounted to at least £265,161.21, the figures showed.

In Sussex the total amount of money made from sales was more than £9,000. Among the figures were Brighton and Hove City Council which sold £1.212.50, Rother £1,310.50, Mid Sussex £1,000.01, Eastbourne £327 and Crawley £424.50.