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Data protection – outlaw the trading of personal data for gain

Comment 3rd July 2010

The sale of personal data has become commonplace in recent times and that data is being used (abused) by those who are buying and those who are selling. As a result, there is a swingeing increase in those who are greatly motivated by greed to exploit the fact that, inadvertently or otherwise, they are in possession of information that could be traded.

My name, my address and any other detail pertinent to me is pertinent to me alone. If that information is of any consequence to any other person – whether for profit or not – it is not to be traded under any circumstances.

One classic example of traded data relates to circumstances where a civil liability might be incurred, e.g. a motor accident. There is scarcely any physical damage to the vehicles involved and yet, 'claims farmers', unscrupulous solicitors, accident management companies, vehicle repairers, engineers or anybody involved in the process will have personal details of the parties involved in the accident; details which have a trading value to others who can exploit the civil litigation system – not in the name of justice and fair play but in the name of personal greed with little regard for the possible consequences of their activity. Watch TV during any advertisement break and bear witness to a myriad of traders (mostly illegitimate) who are seeking to make money from the 'victims' of the accident most of whom never suffered injury in the first instance but who are ready and willing to perjure themselves for the promise of a crock of gold.

Outlaw the trading of personal data and rid the country of a litigious nation whose primary motivation in life is "Something for nothing" 

Why does this matter?

This idea is not revolutionary but is ventured to eliminate a whole raft of claims which have no merit whatsoever; claims for the notorious "whiplash" injury where lawyers are getting fat by prostituting their principles, where doctors and consultants spew out reports – usually by a word process function and often not seeing the claimant – for a fee which is not commensurate to the product and where the claims made for the pursuance of an action take precedence over the measure of compensation payable to the 'injured(?)' party.

All this is contrary to the principle of insurance. Before seat belt legislation, head restraints, crash bars and better constructed vehicles, soft tissue injuries did not exist. OK, it must be accepted that they do exist but only in a minority of cases where they are claimed. The function of insurance is to compensate those who truly suffer injury or loss.

Restrict the claims to those which are genuine and eliminate the spurious in order to reduce premiums by at least one third and to free up the courts to address matters meaningful. The status quo should not be allowed to continue. It is a joke at the expense of the law-abiding citizen who would suffer apoplexy if he knew how his hard earned premium payment was being frittered by the "had an accident?" brigade.

Outlaw the sale of data and revert to the acceptance of genuine rather than spurious; of integrity rather than turpitude. Inculcate some measure of honour and principle into a decaying (but not yet dead) nation. We talk of Great Britain but I am in the company of thousands who use the word 'Great' with a certain cynicism.

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