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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3655
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I belong to a golf club that has a members only site detailing

Resolved Question:

I belong to a golf club that has a members only site detailing all members names, home and mobile telephone numbers and email addresses.
As a member I downloaded this information onto my personal computer at home for reference purposes.
I also own a business and transferred this information to my work computer intending to edit the list and leave personal friends and individuals that I knew we had done business with in the past on a spread sheet for an email marketing campaign. Unfortunately the list was sent out in it's entirety by a member of staff prior to editing without my consent. One of the recipients has complained and may be taking it further.How do I and the business stand under the data protection act?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will assist you.

Have they complained to the Data Commissioner?

Is golf registered under the Data Protection Act?

What did your staff member send it out for?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Have they complained to the Data Commissioner? Not yet


Is golf registered under the Data Protection Act? Golf or the club?


What did your staff member send it out for? Included with other lists as part of an email marketing letter by accident

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

Sorry yes I meant gold club - is the gold club registered?

Do the golf club know what you have done?

I will write a response and explain the position but it will take me some time .

Please do not be concerned if you do not hear from me until the morning.

Kind regards

AJ

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry yes I meant gold club - is the gold club registered? I think so


Do the golf club know what you have done? Yes, the golf club know.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

The first issue you have is that effectively you have breached the golf club's copyright. The golf club maintains a database of personal information and by copying it and using for business purposes without consent this is copyright infringement. This is unlikely to be an issue if you can show that the use was accidental and you did not use it for a commercial purpose. You may have to undertake to destroy copies of the database.

The second issue is you have disclosed some one's personal data without consent. The data protection act really relates to the reasonable use of personal information. If you have collected the information without consent and used it for a purpose that is without consent, this is really is a breach of your obligations. In theory you could face a fine of up to £500k or prosecution however this really is for the must extreme and deliberate breaches. Your breach you was inadvertent and accidental (but perhaps somewhat negligent as you should not have been storing the information on your PC anyway), I therefore suspect if a complaint was made the worst you would face would be an Information Notice or Enforcement Notice from the Information Commissioner.http://ico.org.uk/what_we_cover/taking_action/dp_pecr

What I suggest you do is instruct a solicitor to write an apology and undertaking letter on your behalf. It must come from a solicitor as this will show you are taking the issue seriously and taking advice on how to stop future breaches and disclosure of personal data. The letter should ideally cover:
1. What went wrong;
2. What you are doing to increase security and stop the issue happening again;
3. Confirmation that the employee concerned has received proper training;
4. An undertaking to destroy all personal data belonging to the golf club from your computers.

Once you have done this it would effectively remedy the breach so it would hopefully stop any future action being taken against you that would cause you to incur time and expense.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
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