Friday, August 20, 2010

Labour MSP Karen Whitefield feels the heat as Information Commissioner starts investigation into how she obtained personal details of children

Dear All

It seems that the UK Information Commissioner has started an investigation in how Labour MSP Karen Whitefield obtained personal data from a number of local primary schools.

Karen Whitefield sent personal individual letters to children after obtaining the information which she wasn’t legally entitle to ask for or receive.

This raises serious questions because it is unclear if some of the children were on protection orders.

It is also unclear how the information was passed to Whitefield and whether or not she still has the information in her possession.

Another issue of concern is who else in her office had access to it.

Under Labour there have been numerous breaches of data protection, this is just another line a long line were the Labour Party doesn’t think they have to obey the law as they feel it doesn’t apply to them.

Whitefield since the scandal broke has tried to laugh off the matter as trivial but it is anything but.

She should know happened was completely given that she is the Chair of the Parliament Education Committee.

There are calls for her to resign which she has resisted.

If found guilty of breaching the Data Protection Act 1998 her position as chair would be untenable.

One thing is certain; she never asked the parents for permission or abided by any regulations to obtain the information.

She was wrong.

What she should have done was ask the school to write to the parents and ask their permission.

The Children Act 1989 designates who is a ‘responsible’ adult in regard to the protection of children.

Her position as MSP doesn’t cover this as it has nothing to do with her duties as an MSP, she had no right.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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