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Are you wondering how come political parties can contact you and still comply with GDPR?
It can be puzzling to receive letters from political parties during an election campaign. Whilst some of us relish reading all the campaign material and view it as part of making up our minds, others are truly worried by how political parties are emailing them without their consent. So here is a quick guide to political GDPR.
Can political parties address letters to me without my consent?
Political parties just like anyone else can drop leaflets through your door (without your name on). Leaflets addressed to ‘the householder’ are not using your personal information.
Political parties can use the electoral register to pick up your name and address and send letters addressed to you at your house. They do not need your consent to do this. They can send you one Freepost letter even if you have contacted them and asked them not to do so!
If you don’t want political parties to contact you by letter addressed to you (except the one you can’t control) then you will need to contact them and let them know.
How can I stop political parties contacting me?
You have an absolute right (except for the one Freepost letter) to opt-out of being sent letters addressed to you by political parties, referendum campaigners etc. The problem is the national party and the local constituency parties are all different organisations.
Here are some useful contact addresses: –
Green Party England and local – NI and Scotland are separate
Brexit Party – we have not found the local offices so far
There are many other local candidates and smaller or regional parties, but the principle is the same. If you don’t want them to write to you and send you information to your home using your name, you need to get hold of each them and write and tell them you do not wish to be on their lists or to be mailed. You can also do this by email.
This is known as ‘opting out’ and you should keep a record of your letter. They will take time to action this, so it is possible you will still get something before the election but in the long run this should take you off their postal lists.
The information they hold may not simply be what is found on the electoral roll as they may be ‘aggregating’ that information with information about you from other sources.
You may be surprised to find out just how much they do know about you. If you click a lot of political posts on Facebook you may find the wonderful Facebook Pixels are being used to target you with political advertising. Make sure you don’t get yourself into a bubble where you only hear from people you already agree with. We all need to hear other points of view.
What does need my consent?
Emails, fax (who has one these days?) texts and automated phone calls can only be made if you have given your consent before these are made. If you contacted your MP for some other reason this does not mean you consented. The consent has to be explicit and consent.
Ordinary phone calls strangely do not need your consent, but if you are already registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) they should not call you. It is a great idea to register with the TPS anyway, as this is free. Whilst it does not eliminate cold calls, it does cut them down, and telling people who do call that you are registered usually means they don’t call back. It may be too late for this election since it takes 28 days to take effect, but perhaps it will be useful for the next election or referendum. Click here to register
Did you know you can be on the electoral roll anonymously?
You can be on the electoral roll anonymously. If you want to register anonymously for this December’s election you need to do this by December 4th. Click here to do so.
You will be registered to vote but your details will not be publicly available. If you do not usually register to vote because you are avoiding an abusive ex then this may be the way to get yourself back on the register and voting. The reason for anonymity is the safety of you or someone in your household.
Political parties, your MP, credit reference agencies, and jury service and a few other bodies have access to the anonymous register, but most organisations and people do not.
Whether you want to be contacted or not – protect your personal data
Whether you love hearing from everyone to help you make up your mind, or simply don’t want a particular party to contact you remember to protect your personal data. And whatever you do, don’t forget to vote.