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Blacklisting: ICO bans 14 firms from using data

The Information Commissioner’s Office has served enforcement notices on 14 construction firms, banning them from used data obtained from the blacklisting database.

Six of the 14 companies hit, following breaches of the Data Protection Act, are divisions of the UK’s biggest construction firm, Balfour Beatty.

The full list is:

  • Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering
  • Balfour Beatty Construction Northern
  • Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish & Southern
  • Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (HY)
  • Balfour Beatty Engineering Services
  • Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services
  • CB&I UK
  • Emcor Engineering Services
  • Emcor Rail
  • Kier
  • NG Bailey
  • Shepherd Engineering Services
  • SIAS Building Services
  • Whessoe Oil & Gas

Deputy information commissioner David Smith said: “Fourteen firms paid for personal details about construction workers without those people knowing. The individuals were denied the opportunity of explaining or correcting what may have been inaccurate personal information about them, and which could have jeopardised their employment prospects in the construction industry.

“We have used the maximum powers available to us and this enforcement action sends a strong signal that organisations must take the Data Protection Act seriously. Should the firms fail to adhere to the terms of the Notices they could face prosecution.”

An ICO investigation earlier this year found that Ian Kerr of Droitwich, on behalf of The Consulting Association, held details of 3,213 construction workers and traded their personal details for profit.

At Mr Kerr’s business premises the ICO seized copies of invoices to construction companies for services, including employment checks on individuals.

On 16 July 2009, Mr Kerr was fined £5,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act and ordered to pay £1,187.20 costs.