HMRC to sell taxpayers’ data

Revenue & Customs (HMRC) could share taxpayers’ personal data with private firms, under proposed plans.

Under the new plans, HMRC could release anonymous tax data to third parties.

The proposals have stirred large amounts of discontent from t the public and leading political figures.

Former Conservative minister David Davis told the Guardian the plans were “borderline insane”.

Speaking to the Guardian, he said: “The officials who drew this up clearly have no idea of the risks to data in an electronic age.

“Our forefathers put these checks and balances in place when the information was kept in cardboard files, and data was therefore difficult to appropriate and misuse.

“It defies logic that we would remove those restraints at a time when data can be collected by the gigabyte, processed in milliseconds and transported around the world almost instantaneously.”

Emma Carr, deputy director of civil rights campaign group, Big Brother Watch, said: “The ongoing claims about anonymous data overlook the serious risks to privacy of individual level data being vulnerable to re-identification.

“Given the huge uproar about similar plans for medical records, you would have hoped HMRC would have learned that trying to sneak plans like this under the radar is not the way to build trust or develop good policy.”

A HMRC spokesman said: HMRC would only share data where this would generate clear public benefits, and where there are robust safeguards in place.”

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