For years now local authorities have been selling on personal data from the electoral register to private firms for marketing purposes or to pass on to other firms. Did you know that? A great many people didn’t, and were shocked to hear about this practice as a result of a report produced recently by the Information Commission.

Unless you have signed up to the mailing preference service and opted out of receiving junk mail, some of the information the local authorities hold on file for you can be bought, sold and utilized freely and without your knowing. Proposals published by the Information Commission however recommend the introduction of privacy rules to prevent this practice from taking place, with the imposition of heavy fine for firms which breach these rules.

Moves to stop this practice would be accompanied by giving the public the right to know what information was being held, by whom and whether it was being passed around. Ultimately, it would allow consumers the ability to limit the amount of junk mail they receive by allowing them to opt out.