HS2 company slammed for snooping on rail line opponents - The Rugby Observer

HS2 company slammed for snooping on rail line opponents

Matthew Brown 25th Nov, 2016   0

HS2 Ltd has been branded ‘Orwellian’ after it emerged they wanted to pry into the private lives of those opposed to the contentious high speed rail line.

The Sunday Express reported the company in charge of the £56 billion project had published Privacy Notice details on its website outlining how personal data was to be accessed and processed – including details of individuals’ sexual orientation, trade union affiliation, criminal records as well as information about their physical and mental health.

HS2 said it could collect this information on a number of people, including staff and suppliers, but also complainants and litigants, which would include those claiming compensation or objecting to the scheme.

The company said while information could be volunteered, they could also, as long as it was legal, get information from sources such as medical records, courts and credit rating agencies.

No reason why the information was needed was stated, although in the document itself, it was mentioned it would help create a sense of “pride” in the project.

Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 campaign manager said: “This shows the truly Orwellian mentality of this organisation.

“With so little evidence to support HS2, it has been clear since the start that the government has always intended to smear the public.

“We are absolutely shocked and disgusted that HS2 Ltd planned to pursue this strategy, which must have been endorsed by the government.

“We advise everyone who has been involved with HS2 to immediately request all files on them under the Data Protection Act.”

A spokesman from HS2 said the Privacy Notice had been withdrawn with immediate effect and added it did not reflect how the company handled information.

He added: “We will carry out an audit on data to ensure we do not hold anything inappropriate. At no point has HS2 Ltd used any information held for financial gain, and nor do we intend to.

“We only share information with suppliers that require them to carry out work on our behalf, in line with the Data Protection Act.”

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