Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Civil liberties group 'Liberty' threatens legal action if ICO doesn't prosecute companies for blacklisting!

The civil liberties group 'Liberty', have written to the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, demanding that the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), prosecute 44 building firms that have illegally blacklisted 3,213 workers. In their letter to the Information Commisssioner, Liberty say:  'The limited action you have taken so far is completely inadequate.'

The letter also says that it is 'unlawful' for the Information Commissioner not to use his Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act powers and adds:  'You should seek to prosecute firms involved or hand over the results of your investigation to the police to enable them to bring prosecutions.'

Although 44 major UK construction companies including Carillion and Sir Robert McAlpine, have been linked to a clandestine organisation known as the 'Consulting Association'( C.A.) that was found to be operating a blacklist of workers following a raid by officers of the ICO in February 2009, and sharing this information illegally, with these companies for a fee, none of the companies involved with the C.A. have been prosecuted. Former Special Branch officer, Ian Kerr, who ran the C.A. from an office in Droitwich, was subsequently fined £5,000 after being prosecuted by the ICO.

Corinna Ferguson, a 'Liberty lawyer' told the Daily Mirror newspaper:"We can't believe the inaction of the Information Commissioner on a human rights violation of such wide public interest. If we cannot persuade the commissioner to discharge his public duty, we will consider seeking assistance from the courts."

The ICO told the newspaper that they had received the letter from Liberty and would be responding in due course. The GMB trade union is also taking legal action to force the ICO to contact people who they know are on the blacklist. The GMB estimates that that there are 2,863 people still unaware that they were on the list and being blacklisted for their trade union and political activities.

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