Freesat and postcodes

David Hansen made this Freedom of Information request to British Broadcasting Corporation

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, British Broadcasting Corporation should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

David Hansen

Dear Sir or Madam,

In response to a previous FOI request <http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/fr...> the BBC stated that, "the BBC does not consider that postcodes normally constitute personal data,"

At the time I was unaware of the Information Commissioner's Decision Notice FS50169424 <http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/d...> in which the Information Commissioner takes the view that full post codes are personal data.

Could you supply me with the information the BBC used to make the statement that "the BBC does not consider that postcodes normally constitute personal data,"?

Yours faithfully,

David Hansen

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Hansen

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, which was received on 18th September. We shall
deal with your request as promptly as possible and, at the latest,
within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request
please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20081038.

Kind regards.

The Information Policy and Compliance Team BBC Freedom of Information

Room 2252, BBC White City, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TS, UK

show quoted sections

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hansen

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20081038

<<RFI20081038 - final response.pdf>>
Yours sincerely
Rachel Hallett

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hansen

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20081038

<<RFI20081038 - final response.pdf>>
Yours sincerely
Rachel Hallett

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hansen

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20081038

<<RFI20081038 - final response.pdf>>
Yours sincerely
Rachel Hallett

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

David Hansen

Dear Rachel,

Your "response" consists of the following:

"Please find attached the response to your request for information, reference RFI20081038

"<<RFI20081038 - final response.pdf>>"

The BBC may think that is a response, I think it is nothing of the sort. Were I an impolite person then I would use rather stronger words to describe this "response".

When you provide a response in the same format as the enquiry was made, plain text, I will consider it. Until that time you have refused to answer my enquiry.

Yours sincerely,

David Hansen

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Hansen

We note your email below. We generally provide our responses as pdf
documents. As your previous response was provided in this format and you
didn't specify that either that one or this new response should be
otherwise, we did not realise that this was unacceptable to you. We are
of course happy to now provide your response for you in plain format as
requested.

"Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 ("the Act"), which was received on 18th September.
You asked for the following information:

"the information the BBC used to make the statement that "the BBC does
not consider that postcodes normally constitute personal data""

The above statement was made after discussion within the Information
Policy & Compliance team. During this, we considered the Data Protection
Act itself (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/ukp... ,
and the Information Commissioner's Office guidance on what constitutes
personal data
(http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...
_specialist_guides/160408_v1.0_determining_what_is_personal_data_-_quick
_reference_guide.pdf) This is the only recorded information held in
relation to your request, and both of these documents are readily
accessible online.

We considered the first question in the above guidance "Can a living
individual be identified from the data, or, from the data and other
information in your possession, or likely to come into your possession?"
As postcodes normally identify a number of houses, or a house with more
than one occupant, we concluded that in those cases, postcodes will not
be personal data because, without further information, it would not be
possible to identify individuals. We considered that where a postcode
identified one house with one occupant, this would constitute personal
data, which is why we wrote postcodes are not normally considered to be
personal data.

In the ICO decision you refer to (reference FS50169424), the Information
Commissioner noted in that case that in some cases, a postcode relates
to a single address. The Information Commissioner concluded that in this
case postcodes constituted personal data and disclosure would be unfair
because they could be used together with information already in the
public domain, allowing individuals to be identified.

Appeal Rights
If you are not satisfied with this response you have the right to an
internal review by a BBC senior manager or legal adviser. Please contact
us at the address above, explaining what you would like us to review and
including your reference number. If you are not satisfied with the
internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. The
contact details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone 01625 545 700 or see
http://www.ico.gov.uk/

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, 2nd Floor, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

show quoted sections

David Hansen

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Thank you for your reply.

"In the ICO decision you refer to (reference FS50169424), the Information Commissioner noted in that case that in some cases, a postcode relates
to a single address. The Information Commissioner concluded that in this case postcodes constituted personal data and disclosure would be unfair because they could be used together with information already in the public domain, allowing individuals to be identified."

The situation the Information Commissioner ruled on is similar to the case of your demanding postcodes. They can also be used together with information already in the public domain to allow individuals to be identified.

Have the "Information Policy & Compliance team" considered the Information Commissioner's ruling? Your reply implies that they have not done so.

As I noted in the earlier enquiry, these receivers are not the traditional one-way devices most of the BBC is probably used to thinking of. They contain a return path, although that may not be working at the moment there is presumably an intention to make it work in future. There is also the question of things like IP addresses, but that is for another time.

This could have been avoided very simply, by giving people the choice of selecting locations depending on what they want to watch (rather than what some television person wants them to watch), filling in part of the postcode or filling the whole thing in. I thought that choice was a buzz word, but it appears that is not the case at the BBC and its subsidiary.

Yours sincerely,

David Hansen

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