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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I belong to a Sheep Society whose Committee has split into

Customer Question

I belong to a Sheep Society whose Committee has split into two opposing factions. One faction has used the email addresses of all members to publicise their views. The individual who used the email data was not the Society Data Manager. Is this a breach of the Data Protection Act(s) and what remedies might there be?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I do not wish to reveal the name of the Society. The Committee split in February and those who resigned wished to prompt an EGM to put their views to the membership. The EGM took place in June and they were successful in obtaining a vote against those remaining on the Committee. As a member of the Committee it has been brought to my attention that members email addresses were utilised by those who wished to have an EGM without the permission of the membership, or indeed were not the nominated Society Data Manager.

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

I have been asked
to look at this for you.

There is an exemption from registration under
the provisions of the Data Protection Act for Societies and Clubs who only want
to use the information for their own purposes. Notwithstanding whether it is
registered or not, it is still a breach of the data protection act not to
comply with the principles.

This therefore
probably is a breach of the data protection act, but from past experience, all
that you will be able to achieve is to complain to the Information Commissioner
who, at worst (or best, depending on which side of the fence you sit) will say
stop doing it, and don't do it again.

To be honest, it is
more likely to be looked at as a division within the club and the information
Commissioner is not likely to want to get involved with the club politics.

I'm sorry, I
appreciate that this is not the answer you wanted but there is no point in me
misleading you. I certainly would not be spending any money on pursuing any
court action or on solicitors letters.

I have a duty to
advise you truthfully and honestly, even if that answer is unfavourable for

that answer the question? Can I help further? Can I answer any specific points?

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