BBC Holds Personal Data, Threatens To Contact Employers If Users Leave ‘Offensive’ Comments On Articles

The BBC has revealed it will use people’s “personal information” to “stop” them being “disruptive” or “offensive” online, as well as threatening to inform users employer if they are perceived to have broken the law.

The national broadcaster revealed the threat in a new 28-page ‘Privacy and Cookies Policy’ document, which contained a section on “offensive or inappropriate content”.

“If you post or send offensive, inappropriate or objectionable content anywhere on or to BBC websites or otherwise engage in any disruptive behaviour on any BBC service, the BBC may use your personal information to stop such behaviour”, the section claimed.

It is unclear how the BBC would deploy user’s personal information to alter their behaviour online, and there are not detail given as to what actions they would include within the broad and subjective bracket of “offensive, inappropriate or objectionable”.

The threat to contract third parties such as “your employer, school email/internet provider or law enforcement agencies” about “content and your behaviour” is limited to “where the BBC reasonably believes that you are or may be in breach of any applicable laws”.

However, why the BBC might want to peruse people via their job or education – rather than allowing the criminal justice system to run its course – is also unclear.

They give the example of a post that “may be defamatory”, but do not rule out perusing people for so-called “hate crimes”, which are recorded as a crime so long as they are “perceived” as hateful by the “victim”, with no evidence required.

Furthermore, the phrases “reasonably believes” and “may be in breach” appear to give the BBC the ability to interpret the law themselves, and even scope to potentially ruin lives or reputations when the law has not, in fact, been breached.

The document also reveals that the BBC will “hold your personal information on our systems for as long as is necessary for the relevant activity, or as long as is set out in any relevant contract you hold with the BBC.”

If users delete their BBC accounts, however, their personal data will be deleted.

Categories BBC

Blinkin Eck!

Federation withdraws from its general election event with Labour

The Creative Industries Federation has decided to withdraw from hosting its planned general election event with Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson of the Labour party, scheduled to take place in Hull on Monday May 22.

We had previously agreed with the four largest parties at Westminster – the Conservatives, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrats – that we would provide an opportunity for each to set out its stall on the creative industries, the arts and cultural education. This would include a short speech by a senior party representative and then a rigorous question and answer session with Fed members and partners.

The series began in London on Wednesday with Matt Hancock, the Digital and Cultural Minister, for the Conservatives. His appearance included nearly one hour of detailed questions on Brexit, the industrial strategy, education in schools, skills, intellectual property, the role of digital and more.

As Labour informed us that they were no longer able to devote a similar amount of time to questioning as the other parties have agreed to, we invited them to reconsider. When we could not agree, we had no choice but to pull out of the event.

The Federation – the national organisation for all the UK’s creative industries, cultural education and arts – has a track record for independence and fearlessness. We are, however, non-partisan. We cannot provide a backdrop for campaign events which do not offer the opportunity for proper scrutiny.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused to those planning to attend. We understand Labour plans to go ahead with the event on Monday and if you still wish to attend we suggest you contact the party directly. Our events with the Liberal Democrats next Tuesday and the SNP next Friday will go ahead as planned.