blog header image

Posted : 26 Jun 2018 at 07:50:11
Category: News

Share this article

Big Brother watch urges UK taxman to delete voice samples taken from 5m people


Campaigners have called for HM Revenue & Customs to delete voice samples taken from more than 5m taxpayers, saying the agency breached EU data protection law by collecting them. Since January of last year, HMRC has required callers to its telephone service to repeat the phrase, “My voice is my password.” Big Brother Watch, a privacy campaign group, said on Monday that users had been given no choice whether to opt out, and had therefore been “railroaded into a mass ID scheme”. “These voice IDs could allow ordinary citizens to be identified by government agencies across other areas of their private lives,” said Silkie Carlo, the group’s director. Big Brother Watch has made a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s data watchdog, which will now consider the issue.


The complaint comes two months after the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation came into force. GDPR imposes greater restraint on organisations’ use of personal data, particularly biometric data including voice samples. Big Brother Watch said that HMRC’s voice ID had no lawful basis, because the collection of voice samples was “not necessary for its statutory function”. It also questioned whether HMRC had carried out a privacy impact assessment, as required by GDPR.


The campaign group also claimed the collection would also have breached previous data legislation. The complaint highlights the challenges facing official bodies that are trying to offer secure automated services. The UK government has been increasingly sensitive to citizens’ privacy concerns, saying that internet users should be given more control over their data. HMRC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. When HMRC launched voice ID in January 2017, it said it was “a cutting-edge technology” that would “make it easier for people to manage their tax and tax credits.” It also pledged that customers could “choose to opt-out and continue to use HMRC’s services in the usual way if they prefer”.However, Big Brother Watch said that if a caller refused to say the words requested by the automated line, he or she was simply told: “It’s important you repeat exactly the same phrase. Please say ‘My voice is my password’.


The campaign group, which said it was alerted to the issue by concerned members of the public, said HMRC should make clear whether the voice samples had been shared with other government departments. The ICO said: “We have received a complaint about HMRC’s voice ID scheme and will be making inquiries.” The watchdog has previously been criticised for its lack of enforcement ability, due to limited resources and legal constraints.


Source: - Financial Times - https://www.ft.com/content/88e5d106-7861-11e8-8e67-1e1a0846c475

SIMILAR NEWS

blog header image
NEWS
MORE THAN 160,000 STILL FURLOUGHED AT END OF APRIL

More than 160,000 construction workers remained on furlough at the end of April, new figures have shown. Data released by the government this week showed that 166,600 roles in the sector were bei ...

blog header image
NEWS
CONSTRUCTION LEARNERS TO GET SITE SKILLS CARDS

Construction trainees will soon be given their own skills cards to help oversee work placements. The new Industry Placement Card will help support learners transitioning from the classroom into the ...

blog header image
NEWS
NUMBER OF FURLOUGHED CONSTRUCTION WORKERS FALLING FASTER THAN WIDER ECONOMY

Number of furloughed construction workers falling faster than wider economy  Latest HMRC data shows size industry’s furloughed workforce shrank by 15% in March The numbe ...

blog header image
NEWS
WILL THEY COME BACK? WHY BRITISH CONSTRUCTION LOST ITS EASTERN EUROPEAN WORKFORCE

In recent weeks, a persistent rumour has been circulating about migrant workers in construction. The specifics differ, but the central premise is the same: ‘foreign workers have taken the govern ...

blog header image
NEWS
CONSTRUCTION OUTPUT GROWS BY 1.6% IN FEBRUARY

Construction output grew by 1.6% in February 2021, largely thanks to a 1.5% increase in new work and 1.9% increase in repair and maintenance, as the industry maintains its recovery The level of constr ...

blog header image
NEWS
IR35: RISHI SUNAK URGED TO AMEND ‘FLAWED’ OFF-PAYROLL RULES TO ENSURE SELF-EMPLOYED RIGHTS

IR35 LEGISLATION must be re-examined to correct the "fundamentally flawed" nature of how off-payroll rules operate, a group of MPs have said. IR35 changes kicked in this month, following a year of del ...

business-directory Business Directory
smartbusinessdirectory Payroll Services Business Directory
truebusinessdirectory payroll-services Directory
payroll-services Directory