Pembs U3A and the DPA

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  • #7015
    Anonymous

    Well after the massive “interest” over this subject at the last monthly meeting, and also at the recent “Group Leaders Mtg” someone has to start this thread!

    For those who wish, a link to the actual Act: “http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents”.  As is usual, the Act itself is extremely unwieldy, written as it is with the deliberate intention of providing fun and much income for lawyers in its interpretation! However, of more use is this link to the Department of Constitutional Affairs  “http://dataprotectionact.org/index.html”

    From my perspective having had previous experience with the act, it appears:

    1. Pembs U3A does not need to register itself with the Data Commissioner.
    2. Pembs U3A holds no ?sensitive? information on any member.
    3. With the exception of e-Mail addresses, all other information on the membership list as previously published is already within the public domain.
    4. There is no reason under the DPA as to why the membership list cannot be passed to ALL members of the Pembs U3A providing the members are informed that this is the case, and provided those who wish their names not to be so listed are given the opportunity to have their names removed. (A simple Tick box on their joining request will suffice).

    I think that the fuss over DPA from U3A head office is a typical ?Knee jerk? over-reaction by those who have nothing better to do than look for problems which do not actually exist. In this they have definitely achieved their aim – Pembs U3A is now in an uproar over absolutely nothing of consequence.

    As an aside, I am a member of several organisations, Local, National, and international, and with the exception of the Pembs U3A, all of them have a restricted area on their websites, available only to members, on which can be found a full membership list of all members of that organisation. If the DPA allows them to do it, what is different about the U3A?

    I consider a simple ?directory of members?  could be available to ALL website registered members.  Information I would like to see included would be Name, email address, Phone no. and also a list of those groups to which they belong, and those they are seeking to join/interested in.  This would  be useful if (for instance) I wished to start a ?mah-jongg with dancing? group ? I could contact those interested in both groups with a view to soliciting interest in my new group! 

    Finally, an example of how ridiculous the present interpretation of the DPA is: 
    Earlier this year, I was called by a member of our comiittee to ask if I could provide a list of all those who had joined the Mah-Jongg group so  that the membership  secretary could check that they were all indeed members of the U3A.  I sent the list.  Looking  back now, what I should have done (if we are to abide by these ridiculous and obstructive rules) is to  refuse to do so, until after I had contacted each and  every member of the group, and obtained their permission to tell June whether or not they were actually members of the Mah-Jongg group!  Presumably, they could have refused permission!

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