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Subject:

Re: Utilities Doorknockers and doorknocker databases.

From:

Tim Trent <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Tim Trent <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 12 Nov 2004 13:57:36 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (209 lines)

Now this just got interesting:

A utility company just called me to confirm that I am now off their
marketing database.  This is excellent news.  But then the news turns odd.

Their spokesman could not tell me from where my data had been obtained (but
he is going to find out).  What he said then worried me.  It isnít verbatim,
so forgive me if I am slightly paraphrasing his words.

"We use a number of agencies to do doorknocking.  The agency we use may have
done British Gas last week and may do Southern Electric next week.  Those
agencies use their own data for this job.  They buy it or obtain it
lawfully."

Now this is where his understanding of the law and mine diverge.

If I instruct an agency to perform a task on data capable of identifying a
living individual which I do not see, but still direct them in their use or
non use of that data ("Canvass all [these people's] customers in the
following postcodes" is such an instruction) then I am the Data Controller.
I control the type of processing and I control the date and other matters
about the processing.  It may be an awkward leap of understanding to see
that I control data I have never seen and may never see, but I control it
nonetheless.

Even if I were not the Data Controller, the agencies are not acting within
the law.  They have never notified me at the first opportunity that they
hold my data, nor the purpose for which they intend to process it [knocking
on my door and being unable to explain these matters is not a valid
notification].  In this case I submit that, by the agency acting unlawfully,
the instructing party has allowed his organisation to become linked with one
who has either obtained or processed (or both) my data unlawfully.

Anyone still awake?

According to this utility spokesman "if you have ever agreed to your details
being used for marketing purposes then we have your data lawfully."

Not so.  If I have agreed that they may process my data for marketing
purposes then they have my data lawfully.  If I have agreed that my data may
be passed to third parties for marketing purposes then they have my data
lawfully provided it was passed to them directly by the organisation with
whom I agreed and only by them, because consent is not a "pass through"
item.

This is not just post DPA 1998.  This is B2C stuff.  That other one applies.
The one every B2C organisation is meant to be used to and have been used to
for years

OK, I think I fell asleep now!


-----Original Message-----
From: This list is for those interested in Data Protection issues
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tim Trent
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 9:06 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [data-protection] Utilities Doorknockers and doorknocker
databases.

If they are using old versions of the electoral register then their data
could reasonably be said to be inaccurate because of the frequency of house
moves in the UK.  It would have to be only the old version (I have
religiously opted out of the public and marketing bit on the current
version), and that is now, I think 3 years ago.  But they have still not
notified me at the first opportunity that they hold my data and the purposes
for which they intend to process it.  If they gathered this data 3 years ago
and have not yet told me they have it, then I submit that they are not
entitled to hold it and must delete it unused.

Even if they bought the data yesterday (and I am striving to make them
identify the source of data) then their door knock did not inform me that
they had it and were going to use it ;)

It's odd, isnít it?  If their approach had been "Hi, we have lower cost gas
and electricity than your current supplier.  Swap now and save £x a year"
then I would be far less irritated.  But that is salesmanship.  Or rather
lacking salesmanship.

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Dodgson [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 8:55 AM
To: Tim Trent
Subject: RE: [data-protection] Utilities Doorknockers and doorknocker
databases.

Tim

What about the electoral register, including old versions.

Paul

-----Original Message-----
From: This list is for those interested in Data Protection issues
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Tim Trent
Sent: 11 November 2004 19:08
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [data-protection] Utilities Doorknockers and doorknocker databases.


You know the thing I find substantially more offensive that junk emails is
junk doorknockers!  I don't mean the Kleeneze or Betterware catalogue dupes
who think they can make a living selling me household items I don't want.  I
mean the organised teams of "We're better than they are, buy your gas and
electricity from us" brigade.  I don't begrudge the kiddiewinks employment
but I do hate being lied to.

"We aren't here to sell you anything."  Strike a chord?

But that isn't my beef.  Bad salesmanship is bad salesmanship. That can be
amusing to deal with.

My beef is that these people have my NAME.

I am diligent in not allowing my details to be used without my express
consent, and I stay off the marketing side of the electoral roll and have
done since I was able to.  Yet I have been asked now by both Southern
Electric and by NPower "Are you Mr Trent?"  So where did they get it?
Southern Electric say that, as they are the infrastructure supplier, my
current vendor has given it to them.  My vendor denies this.  Npower are
investigating where they got my data from.  Each has taken me off their list
for marketing, including doorknocking.  That part is professional.  But
where did they get it from?  Because, as data controllers, they have
definitely NOT notified me at the first opportunity that they hold my data,
nor the purposes for which they hold it.  Nor has the data controller who
supplied the record notified me that he would be passing it to third
parties, and especially not without my consent.

I would love some light to be shed on this.

I shall also be very interested to get more doorknockers from either
organisation.  Dammit I was watching the Simpsons, and had a half decent
G&T!  It got warm.

My sole consolation is the my outside light has a 100 watt bulb in it.
Dazzled this evening's kiddies almost painfully.  OK, watching a baby
salesman squirm is cruel, but dammit........

DO we have any utility privacy officers on the list?





Tim Trent - Consultant
Direct: +44(0)1344 392644 Mobile:+44(0)7710 126618
email: [log in to unmask]
<blocked::mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Marketing Improvement Limited, Abbey House, Grenville Place, Bracknell,
United Kingdom, RG12 1BP <blocked::http://www.marketingimprovement.com/>
http://www.marketingimprovement.com



This message is for the intended addressee's use only. It may contain
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sender, except where the message states otherwise and the sender is
authorised to state them to be the views of any such entity.



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