Feeds

Staffs Police face data protection probe over 'drink drivers named' Twitter campaign

ICO to ponder whether hashtag wrongly implied suspects' guilt

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Staffordshire Police, who ran a Twitter campaign against alleged drink-drivers over the Christmas period by naming and shaming suspects charged with the offence, are now being investigated by the UK's information watchdog for a possible breach of data protection law.

The move comes after the Information Commissioner's Office received a complaint about the police force's decision to publish the details of the suspects - including name and age - on the micro-blogging site alongside the hashtag "DrinkDriversNamedOnTwitter".

Some argued that the hashtag itself implied that the suspects were guilty of the offence, despite only having been charged with the offences.

In the run up to Christmas, the cop shop tweeted the names of more than 80 individuals who had been cuffed and charged over allegations of driving drunk behind the wheel of a car. Significantly, none of the named individuals had been convicted or sentenced.

The controversial campaign was attacked by privacy experts, who questioned whether Staffordshire Police had violated data protection laws.

An ICO spokesman told The Register:

We are currently making enquiries into a possible breach of the Data Protection Act by Staffordshire Police relating to their #drinkdriversnamedontwitter campaign.

El Reg understands that the regulator is mulling over principle 1 of the Data Protection Act that requires information to be be processed fairly and lawfully.

In mid-December, Staffordshire Police - which tweets under the Twitter handle @StaffsPolice - claimed to have "overwhelming support" for its anti drink-driving campaign and said it would help reduce such alleged crimes in the area.

At the time, the constabulary's Chief Inspector Paul Trevor said the force would use Twitter to name and shame "those who have been caught drink-driving" on a daily basis.

In direct response to the criticism, Staffordshire Police added: "There have been concerns raised about naming those charged. However, it is force policy to name people who have been charged and when offenders attend court it becomes a matter of public record." ®

Bootnote

Surprisingly, Twitter is not yet trending with the following hashtag: #gohomestaffspoliceyouredrunk.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?