Why our councils say they are powerless against selling on your personal details

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Latest news from the Bury Free Press
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Councils have defended selling people details to businesses and organisations, saying legislation currently offers them no right to refuse.

Details as to how much councils made selling edited electoral rolls containg peoples names and address, and who they sold them to, have been revealed after a Freedom of Information request by civil liberties group Big Brother Watch.

It found St Edmundsbury Borough sold 23 copies to businesses and political groups – pocketing a total of £922.41.

Forest Heath District Council sold an unspecified number of copies for a total of £,1062 while Mid Suffolk District Council sold three copies – the amount it received was not made public.

Babergh District Council sold 25 copies raising £1,214.79. Buyers included businesses, a school, and several councils and churches.

Breckland meanwhile did not sell any copies.

The figures were all for the five year period from May 2007 through to May 2012.

A St Edmundsbury spokeswoman said people can opt out of having their name and address on the edited register.

“In St Edmundsbury 56 per cent of those eligible to vote have opted out,” said the spokeswoman.

A Babergh spokesman said the availability of the edited electoral role to buy is set in legislation. The cost is £10 for a paper version and £5 for every 1,000 names or £20 for an electronic version and £1.50 for every 1,000 names.