Boris Johnson’s ‘Back Boris’ campaign team has been accused of breaching the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by sending campaign emails without consent. Foreign Office minister Harriet Baldwin and Ben Howlett, a former MP for Bath have asked the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Brandon Lewis to launch an inquiry into data protection regulation breaches.
This follows complaints from the pair on receiving emails from Johnson’s campaign team despite not opting in to receive communications. The pair reportedly signed up to receive campaign materials during Johnson’s mayoral campaign seven years ago but did not sign up to receive his 2019 campaign materials. This implies that the campaign team is sending information to members of old mailing lists without consent. The Foreign Office minister and former MP have also written to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to investigate Johnson’s campaign for breaching data protection laws.
According to ICO guidelines, any candidates wishing to send emails, texts or make automated calls “must ensure that they have consent from the individuals to use such marketing channels.”
Ben Howlett in a statement to the Guardian said,
“No politician is above the law when it comes to usage of private personal data. Brandon Lewis should conduct an urgent investigation into Team Boris’s data compliance prior to ballot papers being sent out. I fear there is a clear breach of GDPR law and it is for the official Information Commissioner’s Office to determine.”
Boris Johnson’s campaign team has dismissed the claims and insist they have been complaint with GDPR and the Data Protection Act.
A spokesperson from the ICO comments, “We are aware of these concerns and will be assessing the information provided.”
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