Marketing firm that supplied data to the Labour Party fined £140,000 for breaching Data Protection Act

Marketing firm that supplied data to the Labour Party fined £140,000 for breaching Data Protection Act

Votes are counted at the 2017 general election. Image: Getty

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A company that sold personal data to the Labour Party during the last election has been fined £140,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Lifecycle Marketing Mother& Baby Ltd (LCMB), trading as Emma’s Diary, was slapped with the penalty for a “serious contravention” of the Data Protection Act, Guido Fawkes reports.

LCMB sold the data of over 7 million customers to Experian “under a data supply agreement listing the Labour Party as Experian’s client”, said the ICO report.

Yesterday it was reported that Facebook would be fined for the same offence. 

Read more: Facebook fined £500,000 by Information Commissioner's Office for data breaches

Names of children and parents, household addresses and dates of birth were included. The report said that “LCMB told the Commissioner that the records it supplied would have helped the Labour Party send political marketing communications to people with young children about, for example, Labour’s intention to protect Sure Start centres.

“This was done in the constituencies for 106 parliamentary seats.”

LCMB said that their Privacy Policy outlined exactly how data would be used, and that Experian deleted the records after the election on 8 June 2017.

Privacy policy still mentions third-party marketers

Emma’s Diary is a pregnancy and parenting advice website that gives users the option to sign up to receive offers.

The sign-up page includes a number of checkboxes to which you must opt in to receive post and email from Emma’s Diary.

The Emma's Diary registration page

However, the privacy policy - which was updated on 20 June 2018, according to the website - states that information may be shared with third parties and users must ask for this not to happen.

“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,” reads one paragraph.

“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.”

Read more: Leave.EU fined by Electoral Commission for overspending

An old version of the privacy policy from March 2017, which talkRADIO viewed using the Wayback Machine website, did not include the line about opting out of having your details shared, but both said that third parties were bound by contractual obligation to keep data confidential.

The new policy reflects that the Data Protection Act has now been replaced by the GDPR.

Labour ‘reviewing how they purchase data’

A later passage reads: “LMG may also permit selected third parties to use your data to provide you with information about goods and services which may be of interest to you. These third parties are bound by contractual obligations to keep personal information confidential and use it only for the purposes for which we disclose it to them. You can opt out of receiving information from 3rd parties at anytime using our “Preference Centre” to control the channels which we contact you through.”

Experian is still listed as a client, as is Pampers, Bonusprint, Argos, marketing firm CACI Ltd (which offers consumer data analysis services), Boots and photographers Barrett and Coe.

“By providing LMG with your email address, landline or mobile telephone number and/or your postal address, and opting in to Emma’s Diary and/or Third parties you are consenting to being contacted via these channels,” reads the privacy policy.

A Labour spokesman told Guido Fawkes that they would be “reviewing how they purchased their data”.