A national expert in data protection has supported our argument that DVLA is breaching the rights of disabled claimants, calling our analysis ‘excellent’ and adding ‘I hope the DVLA will rethink.’
Last week Benefits and Work revealed that a new vehicle check service on the DVLA website allows visitors to find out whether their neighbours are receiving the higher rate of the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) or either rate of the mobility component of personal independence payment (PIP).
We believe the system is likely to be in breach of data protection laws and will be of enormous concern to many disabled claimants.
Jon Baines, is Chairman of NADPO , the National Association of Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officers. He writes and trains regularly on data protection issues and blogs at informationrightsandwrongs.com
In a post published on 6 July - DVLA, disability and personal data – he wrote:
“When I first looked at the reports that the DVLA’s Vehicle Tax Check service enabled people to see whether the registered owner of a car was disabled, I thought this might fall into the complex category of data protection issues. On reflection, I think it’s relatively straightforward.
“I adopt the excellent analysis by the benefitsandwork.co.uk site”
Baines then goes on to quote our argument that the data DVLA is publishing is not about the vehicle, but is personal data about the individual who currently owns the car or for whom the car is solely used.
He adds: “It’s difficult to argue against this, although it appears the DVLA are trying . . .”
Baines goes on to quote guidance that is supported by a Court of Appeal judgement:
“As the Information Commissioner’s guidance (commended by Moses LJ in Edem) says
“Is the data being processed, or could it easily be processed, to: learn; record; or decide something about an identifiable individual, or; as an incidental consequence of the processing, either: could you learn or record something about an identifiable individual; or could the processing have an impact on, or affect, an identifiable individual.”
Baines is in no doubt that this is the case in the example given in our original article:
“Ultimately benefitsandwork’s example (where someone was identified from this information) unavoidably shows that the information can be personal data: if someone can search the registration number of a neighbour’s car, and find out that the registered keeper is exempt from paying the road fund licence for reasons of disability, that information will be the neighbour’s personal data, and it will have been disclosed to them unfairly, and in breach of the DPA (because no condition for the disclosure in Schedule 3 exists).
“I hope the DVLA will rethink.”
We also hope that DVLA will rethink their decision to make this information available to any neighbour, relative or work colleague who wishes to obtain it.
But as they seem determined not to, you may want to pass a link to this article on to DVLA and the information commissioner’s office if you decide to make a complaint about your data rights being breached.
The link to Jon Baines’ article is: