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Emma’s Diary data breach – over one million users’ data sold

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In the run up to the 2017 General Election, Lifecycle Marketing (Mother and Baby) Ltd, also known as Emma’s Diary, sold over one million users’ data to Experian’s Marketing Division. This data was then used to create a database which was used by the Labour Party to profile new mothers.

This data included various pieces of personal information such as the names of parents who had downloaded the app, their home addresses, the presence of children under the age of five and the date of birth of those children.

The Labour Party also used this information to send targeted direct mail to mothers who were living in areas with marginal seats about its intention to protect Sure Start Children’s centres.

Emma’s Diary did not disclose to users that their personal information would be used by a political party in their privacy policy. As a result, they were found to be in breach of the Data Protection Act.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined Emma’s Diary £140,000. Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, stated:

The relationship between data brokers, political parties and campaigns is complex. Even though this company was not directly involved in political campaigning, the democratic process must be transparent.

All organisations involved in political campaigning must use personal information in ways that are transparent, lawful and understood by the UK public.

While the ICO demonstrated that it is able to impose heavy fines on any businesses who are found to be in breach of data protection regulations, they do not award any compensation to victims – including in this instance.

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If your data has been exposed or potentially exposed in a data breach, you can take a look at our guide to what to do if your data has been stolen in a data breach.

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