Feeds

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

ICO to ponder whether hashtag wrongly implied suspects' guilt

Boost IT visibility and business value

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.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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?