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Emma's Diary sold parents info to political parties.

(21 Posts)
OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 11-Jul-18 08:04:40

Deep in this article is the mention that Emma's Diary acted as a data broker to political parties. Which is pretty cynical exploitation given the access they have. Do they still go round maternity wards handing out free stuff?

NoCatsOnTheTable Wed 11-Jul-18 08:15:17

Totally unsurprising though, Bounty and Emma's Diary are just front for data gathering. I thought that was common knowledge tbh confused

Political parties can buy the data in the same way any other organisation can. It's vile and cynical and preying on new parents but that's been the case for decades and it's why so many people think Bounty is a heap of shit. Unfortunately plenty still fall for the offer of exchanging huge amounts of personal data for free nappy and bum cream!

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 11-Jul-18 08:32:45

I think people are much more savvy about it now, I don't think it used to be common knowledge. I remember thinking that they were a way to advertise products and because Emma's diary was something that happened through the GP I thought at the time it was nhs linked. This, for me, was quite a long time ago though.

It's clearly not ok, data has not been used appropriately if the ICO have named them.

FlibbertyGiblets Wed 11-Jul-18 08:52:45

Well well well. I'd understood Emmas Diary sold on info but assumed it was purely about marketing to new parents, products and services. Blimey.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 11-Jul-18 12:28:45


They say 'All the data we collect from you is for marketing purposes only. This means we may share your details with reputable companies who may want to contact you to offer goods and services relevant to your pregnancy journey. You can ask us to stop sharing your details at any time now or in the future though either our site or via telephone or mail.'

So exactly how is selling the data to political parties relevant to my 'pregnancy journey'? That is a clear breech.

I'd like to know how long they've been doing that for.

beanaseireann Wed 11-Jul-18 16:35:42

What's Emma's diary ?

Sarahconnor1 Wed 11-Jul-18 16:43:31

Updated story in this link. A company that offers pregnant women and new parents health advice and gifts, faces a fine for illegally sharing more than a million people's personal data with the Labour Party

PerkingFaintly Wed 11-Jul-18 16:52:03

From that BBC article:

The ICO said that on 5 May 2017, Lifecycle Marketing has supplied 1,065,200 records to the data broker Experian Marketing Services for use by Labour.
Each record included:
the name of the parent who had joined Emma's Diary
their home address
whether children up to the age of five were present
the birth dates of the mother and children
The ICO said the Buckinghamshire-based Lifecycle Marketing had understood the data would be used by a mail campaign promoting Labour's family-friendly policies in 106 constituencies.

I'm guessing the company tried to use that last paragraph to cover its arse. But clearly the Information Commissioner disagreed. Well done the ICO, in my humble one.

PerkingFaintly Wed 11-Jul-18 16:55:00

In considering the size of its penalty, the watchdog said it had taken into account that it understood Lifecycle Marketing had not shared personal data with a political party on any other occasion, and had expected the information to be deleted after the general election vote.

But it added that it was not clear how the firm could be confident that the data had indeed been permanently erased.
The ICO has said it wants the UK's 11 main political parties to have their data-sharing practices audited later this year and said it also has "outstanding enquiries with a number of data brokers".

"[In the past] there had been a much looser interpretation of the fairness principle, and it wasn't applied as tightly and rigorously as it has been in this case," Mr Fowles explained.

"Now we see this is the direction of travel for the Information Commissioner, companies and political parties are going to have to think very carefully about what they told people when they took data from them."

Xenia Wed 11-Jul-18 16:57:53

I have never been happy that some (not all) NHS hospitals allow Bounty and others into maternity wards (nor commercial photographers for that matter). This is just one in a string of uses with these companies who misuse the data of new mothers at a vulnerable time.

The misuse of these mothers' data might cause damage and distress and would breach even the old data protection law then in force and give rise to a damages action even. It might be 1m individuals can claim even just some compensation - may be they should consider a group action of some kind although it may be hard to prove loss and as Labour lost the election (thankfully) buying the data hardly worked!

PerkingFaintly Wed 11-Jul-18 17:12:30

One of the MPs at the DCMS committee on Fake News mentioned that Facebook had been touting constituents' date to him in the last election, though I think he hadn't taken it up.

But he said that (before his rapid education on the committee), it simply hadn't crossed his mind to ask Facebook whether the company had the users' permission to be flogging their data. Never mind users' permission to process it into specific target audiences, to make sure the right people did – and didn't – get an advertiser's message.

DirtyBlonde Wed 11-Jul-18 21:06:00

The thread title refers to political parties (plural)

Is there any evidence of a party other then Labour using data acquired from Emma's Diary?

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 11-Jul-18 21:17:15

You can still read the original article which mentioned political parties and Emma's diary without any specifics, The story released has evolved since then.

PerkingFaintly Wed 11-Jul-18 22:48:08

The way the article is written, it now appears to indicate that from Emma's Diary, it's only the Labour party to whom data was sold.

I'm afraid there are an awful lot of shoes yet to drop in this investigation, though.

I don't know what state of play is regarding Westminster parties, but regarding the Leave campaign, evidence was given to the DCMS committee that Arron Banks used the database of his insurance company, Eldon Insurance/GoSkippy, for Brexit political campaigning. What's more, some of that data hadn't even been given directly to Eldon but had been passed on by

Article here and you'll find more by Carole Cadwalladr, who's been working on this:

So we're at "tip of the iceberg" stage.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 12-Jul-18 08:25:00

Agreed Perking.
I'm actually wondering why ED was the only company named in that article other than FB.

PerkingFaintly Thu 12-Jul-18 08:38:27

I wonder if it's just as far as they have got, and the Information Commissioner wanted to include it to make clear the problem doesn't stop at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica which have been in the news.

The ICO's statement about the report says "The interim progress report has been produced to inform the work of the DCMS’s Select Committee into Fake News."

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 12-Jul-18 08:43:32

That is possible.

PerkingFaintly Thu 12-Jul-18 08:43:49

More from the ICO's statement on 10 July (which makes a good, short briefing for anyone coming to this subject cold):

This includes the ICO’s intention to fine Facebook a maximum £500,000 for two breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Other regulatory action set out in the report comprises:

• warning letters to 11 political parties and notices compelling them to agree to audits of their data protection practices;
• an Enforcement Notice for SCL Elections Ltd to compel it to deal properly with a subject access request from Professor David Carroll;
• a criminal prosecution for SCL Elections Ltd for failing to properly deal with the ICO’s Enforcement Notice;
• an Enforcement Notice for Aggregate IQ to stop processing retained data belonging to UK citizens;
• a Notice of Intent to take regulatory action against data broker Emma’s Diary (Lifecycle Marketing (Mother and Baby) Ltd); and
• audits of the main credit reference companies and Cambridge University Psychometric Centre.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said:

“We are at a crossroads. Trust and confidence in the integrity of our democratic processes risk being disrupted because the average voter has little idea of what is going on behind the scenes.

“New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters. But this cannot be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law.

She added:

“Fines and prosecutions punish the bad actors, but my real goal is to effect change and restore trust and confidence in our democratic system.”

A second, partner report, titled Democracy Disrupted? Personal information and political influence, sets out findings and recommendations arising out of the 14-month investigation.

Among the ten recommendations is a call for the Government to introduce a statutory Code of Practice for the use of personal data in political campaigns.

Ms Denham has also called for an ethical pause to allow Government, Parliament, regulators, political parties, online platforms and the public to reflect on their responsibilities in the era of big data before there is a greater expansion in the use of new technologies.

PerkingFaintly Thu 12-Jul-18 08:45:22

The partner report looks very significant, so I'm having a look through that now.

Democracy disrupted? Personal information and political influence

Xenia Thu 12-Jul-18 09:44:45

the ICO's investigation above into FB, CA etc etc is I believe the biggest in the world and biggest ind ata protection history so at least in the UK we are starting to get more on top of this issue. of course the downside could be that the bargain you do with FB that you get a very good free service in exchange for releasing your data (one reason I don't use FB for example) might have to change - that you pay to use it and your data then isn't used or not used as much.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 12-Jul-18 10:15:28

I think if people actually knew what they were agreeing to with regards to FB sharing data (data then being sold on to companies who use it to manipulate whole countries elections by micro targeting adverts bring just one example) then we could say at least well people knew what the exchange was. But that was all rather hidden, hence the ICO coming down so hard.

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