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Elmbridge Council selling voters' details to companies
Elmbridge Council has made nearly £3,500 selling residents’ names and addresses to private companies and individuals in the past five years.
The council is one of four in the UK that has sold information from the edited electoral register (EER) to more than 50 buyers.
The electoral register, a list of everyone who is registered to vote in a given area, has a full and edited version.
An Elmbridge Council spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that between May 1, 2007, and May 1, 2012, the council received £3,475.80 from the sale of the Edited Register of Electors.
“The administration of the process for distinguishing the edited element of the Register of Electors from the full Register of Electors, costs significantly more than the sums generated by sale of the Edited Register.
“There is no profit element and the money is reinvested in the registration budget.
“It is beyond Elmbridge Council’s control as to how many individuals or organisations ask to purchase the Edited Register of Electors. The council does not actively promote the sale of the Edited Register and must sell a copy to anyone who makes a request.”
Voters’ details will appear on the full version of the register but they can choose to have their details removed from the edited version.
The full register is used for elections while the edited register is available for sale and can be used for marketing.
At least 307 councils across the country admitted to selling information from the EER between May 1, 2007 and May 1, 2012, including Richmond and Kingston councils.
In a report published this week by campaign group Big Brother Watch, Elmbridge Council made £3,475.80 from selling information to 78 companies and individuals over the five year period.
Westminster City Council sold residents’ information to 93 companies and individuals, making £6,241.50, while Kensington and Chelsea Council sold information on 64 occasions, making a profit of £7,064.
By selling on residents’ information, councils are allowing companies to send out personalised junk mail to their residents.
The report said people were unaware they were able to permanently opt-out of the edited register and the campaign group is calling for the EER to be abolished altogether.
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