Alarm at easy access to personal details

Violent service users who want to find social workers and other
professionals they have a grievance against are able to access
personal information about them on the internet, it has

Websites listing names, addresses, telephone numbers and even maps
have led to fears that workers will be more easily tracked

One social worker working for a council in the North West, who
wished to remain nameless, said he had been “shocked” to discover
anyone could find his address on, as well as a

Councils are selling information from their electoral roll to
marketing companies who then sell it on or publish it.

Three years ago individuals were given a choice to “opt out” of
having information held by local authorities passed to marketing

But companies are continuing to use information that predates the
three-year-old opt out choice, despite the fact this breaches the
Data Protection Act 1998, which stipulates that information must be
kept up-to-date.

The social worker, who contacted marketing company Eurodirect and
arranged to have his name removed from its list, said: “The opt-out
should act retrospectively”.

A spokesperson for public sector union Unison said: “It is very
worrying for the health and safety of social workers and many
others. They could be traced by clients who have a grudge or they
could be mentally unstable.

“People should be given the option to opt in rather than opt out.
There are people who are not aware their personal details are so
easily accessible,” she added.

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