The Data Protection Commissioner has responded to my question regarding data protection and the naming (or not) of candidates and political parties who have been fined for failing to remove election posters in the recent local and European elections.
Dear Mr. Sheridan,
I refer to your recent email query to this Office in relation to the publication by local authorities of persons fined for not removing election posters.
“Name and Shame” schemes may involve disclosure of sensitive personal data (criminal convictions).
Such disclosure requires either the consent of the individual or some other legitimiser in the Data Protection Acts.
Disclosure as part of a “name and shame” policy requires a specific legal provision which triggers Section 8(e) of the Data Protection Acts (“required by or under any enactment or by a rule of law or order of a court”).
An example is the Fines Act 2010 which provides in Section 21 for the publication by the Courts Service of a list of persons who have not paid fines.
In the absence of a legal basis, the position of this Office is that the publishing of names and addresses of private individuals fined or convicted, whether by ways of publication on local authority websites or by way of notices published in the local press (notices paid for by the authority rather than court reports) is likely a breach of the principles of data protection as set down in the Data Protections Acts 1988 & 2003.