At present the Data Protection Act contains an exception for journalistic / public interest processing and disclosures of personal information - this is why the press can name people in stories, especially public figures.
I don't know if the new GDPR (General Data protection Regulation) stuff has the same exception - if not then the newspapers are going to be very strange, with no pictures of anyone, and even saying "The Home Secretary" will be identifying an individual, so not allowed. The exception must exist, surely?
Now, I wonder if it is public interest to state the full name of the person that works for British Telecommunications plc that has stated that BT is not a communications provider? I mean it seems such a stupid lie that he deserves "naming and shaming" surely?
I was not trying to make this yet another unhinged rant, honest, it was a genuine DPA/GDPR issue. Can I name the person?
Now, I was thinking, I could give his first name, which is Andrew, as we know many Andrews, even in BT, and so could not, as data controller, identify the person from his first name alone.
However, it got me thinking, The rule is, as far as I know, that anything which allows the data controller to identify the person, including access to other data the data controller has, or could get access to from third parties even, counts as personally identifiable data - even if the rest of the world could not use that data to identify the person.
So if I said "customer number 1209", to me, that is an identifiable individual, so that data, just "customer number 1209" is personally identifiable data, and I could not post it, even if nobody reading this knows who that is? Is that the case, really? Thankfully customer 1209 has agreed to that much data about him (or her) being posted in this blog post.
However, this BT person - I (as the data controller) can identify him from the "story". Just saying "The BT person that said BT is not a communications provider" is enough for the data controller to identify that person.
Basically, I cannot post *ANYTHING* about the story in any way without releasing personal identifying information - i.e. information the data controller can use to identify that person (given other data the controller has, or has access to).
Surely that makes no sense? Or is giving his identifiable information in public interest? If not, I cannot post the store at all. If so, then giving his full name is no more help to the data controller in identifying the person than the content of the story is.
So what is the question? Is the question "Is revealing personal identifiable data in public interest? yes/no". Or is the question "Is revealing this persons full name in public interest? yes/no?"
As I say, not an unhinged rant, a real question...
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