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Islington Council publishes sexual orientation of 2,400 residents

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  1. “We will more or less guarantee this won’t ever be repeated.”

    More or less?

    Appalling.

    1. georgia constantinou 27 Jul 2012, 7:01pm

      This was a deliberate move by certain officers with ex member backing to discredit the supporters of the gay Chair of Housing who is challenging the PFI arrangements and ALMO functions which are ineffective, costly with repetitive callouts which do not solve problems advanced by a nepotistic recruitment record going back to the LIB DEMS when they had control. This was deliberate and homophobic and should be properly investigated. I know because Im an Islington resident

      1. If so, then this information should be provided to the ICO and/or police as there is a criminal offence of conspiracy to breach section 55 of the DPA

    2. Sister Mary Clarence 27 Jul 2012, 7:47pm

      Fills you with confidence doesn’t it!!!

    3. Just about to post the same thing. He couldn’t even be arsed to lie.
      Shameful

  2. georgia constantinou 27 Jul 2012, 6:54pm

    They are attacking the gay chair of the Housing Committee for asking the right questions about PFI and for trying to take some of the functions away from the unscrupulous ALMO. It seems that vociferous gay tenants are supporting him and the powers that be the ‘freemasonary’ and residual Lib Demmers have it out for us. This is blatant homophobia and should be investigated.

  3. Dan Filson 27 Jul 2012, 7:58pm

    The Data Protection Registrar will impose a massive fine, I trust, which may focus minds. This is a disaster which will have great repercussions for those who do not complete diversity questionnaires fearing, not without cause, that the information might get disclosed.

    1. Can you provide evidence of a single occasion in the past when the Data Protection Register has ever slapped a significant fine on any organisation for such a breach? I deal with computer databases and I’ve given up worrying about data protection, because all the cases I’ve seen have resulted in totally insignificant fines. It’s cheaper to take the fine than pay for security. In most cases when data is released into the public domain, no-one even notices.

      You won’t find details about my sexuality recorded by my council. And every time I’ve visited a STD clinic I’ve used a fake name. When the government wanted to centralise all medical records, I signed a waiver expressly preventing my records from being shared. With my colleagues and family I’m openly gay, but I’m not trusting sensitive data to a system with no teeth.

      1. Not as many cases as there should be!

        However, there have been some cases including one of £150,000 as evidenced in this report:
        http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10892%3Ainformation-commission-fires-data-warning-as-fines-break-p2m&catid=59&Itemid=27

        Its not only Information Commissioner financial penalities that need to be considered – also there can be a denial of the right to store certain classes of information from the Information Commissioner – AND the risk of private or criminal prosecution (in some instances) whether or not the ICO is involved.

      2. James . . . if the government wants to see or even alter your medical records it will !

        1. Rodent

          This case is not about access to, alteration of or publication of medical records.

  4. why does the council need this kind of information anyway? I say to hell with these “diversity” questionnaires tacked onto everything.

    1. essexgirlbecky 28 Jul 2012, 1:42am

      There is a EHRC report at http://goo.gl/xMMke which explains why local authorities need to collate this information. When councils don’t know who is living in their area, how can they make sure that they are providing a full range of services, that they are not discriminating against anyone by omission, that they engage with community groups on key policy decisions etc?

  5. Spanner1960 27 Jul 2012, 11:40pm

    As a former resident of Islington, I can say if ever this country had a gay gehtto outside of Brighton, that was probably it.

    There’s going to be a lot of pissed off queens in the Edward tonight.

    1. essexgirlbecky 28 Jul 2012, 1:29am

      Pissed off Queens in the Edward tonight? Has it reopened since closing down last Summer?

      1. Spanner1960 28 Jul 2012, 9:14am

        Oh. News to me. Another one bites the dust it seems. Shame.

  6. Christopher 28 Jul 2012, 3:41am

    Personal privacy aside, I cant help but wonder if maybe it`s time to publish such information, if only to prove to the deniers that gays exist in the numbers that they do. It`s time for quantitative facts and measures. In an age when it is illegal to discriminate based upon sexual orientation, again, maybe it`s time…

    1. So government should decide to disclose the orientation of individuals … is that really what you are suggesting, Christopher?

      1. Spanner1960 29 Jul 2012, 12:31pm

        I think what Christopher is suggesting is an interesting point.
        The whole purpose of the national census is to identify trends, not personal information, and as long as it was simply a non-identifiable head count, I see no reason why the information shouldn’t be used.

        It might settle this 1%? – 5%? – 10%? – 20%? argument once and for all and demonstrate that we may well be in larger numbers than assumed, and consequently demand a more democratic attitude towards our demographic.

    2. Sister Mary Clarence 29 Jul 2012, 3:01pm

      I can’t really see any circumstance where it would be appropriate to publish the the names, addresses, relationship status, gender, ethnicity, and religion details of residents. Fair enough if they had just posted gender, ethnicity, religion, and/or sexual orientation without the name and address I wouldn’t really have thought it was too much of an issue, but I can’t imagine a situation when it would be correct to link this information to name and address as part of a subject access request, let alone publish it online.

  7. We have nothing to hide. Why does it need to be such a big secret? Shouldn’t this information be treated the same as figures for disabled people or an ethic minority? Why do we need all this confidentiality? No big deal if you ask me.

    1. Because unfortunately there are still ppl who will make our lives a living hell if they know exactly where we live.
      I agree the council should have the information though so they can provide a better service…

    2. Spanner1960 28 Jul 2012, 12:20pm

      You may not have anything to hide, but how dare you be so presumptuous of others; LGBT people may be a lot better off than they were say, 50 years ago, but we are by no means out of the woods yet, and I doubt that to a certain degree we ever will. There will always be homophobia, in just the same way as there always be racism, sexism, criminality and many other things. That is simply the human condition.

    3. Cal,

      You, I and many other readers of PN may well have nothing to hide.

      Indeed, many of those whose details were released may have nothing to hide and be largely unconcerned about the information that was disclosed.

      However, for me, that is besides the point.

      It is only for the individual involved to be able to determine if they wish to reveal their orientation or not. I should not determine whether to out you, nor you me, or either of us another third party. Nor, should any public body take it upon themselves to reveal such information publically about individuals.

      Furthermore, the local authority did not have consent to release this information. So, regardless of whether those involved were comfortable and content with the release of information – the local authority had no justification for releasing any personal information without the consent of the person involved (unless for legitimate reasons eg criminal investigation etc – which was not the case in this matter).

      1. I take your points, Stu, Spanner and Tigra. Of course some GLBT people are still vulnerable. The council made a serious mistake because private information was made public without consent. My point, very clumsily put, was that information about Gay people should be treated the same as with other groups and should not acknowledge a special reason to hide. It is not for the council to out people, of course, but if we hide we are going backwards.

        1. Craig Denney 28 Jul 2012, 4:40pm

          I agree with Cal.

          There was a campaign to add the gay question to the Census but it failed.

          If we want to progress in society we need to be open about our sexualities and if people threaten us then they are breaking the law.

          1. Spanner1960 28 Jul 2012, 5:53pm

            Yeah. Like that ever stopped anybody.
            Look what has happened in the last 10 years over identity theft – do you think this would be any different?

  8. When the country turns against gay people (either because we end up with a fascist government or an islamo-fascist government), then all those diversity questionaires, and the civil partnership register will make a very handy list for our enemies.

    Jews know that apparently tolerant societies can turn (just like Weimar Germany turned). Gay people seem to think that we are on a never-ending ride to liberalism.

    1. James, are you suggesting that Jews also hide their identity incase of a backlash? Perhaps I was unwise to enter into a civil partnership! Well, I don’t want to live in that kind of world and I do not believe paranoid precautions are necessary. I think you should have more confidence. We are surrounded by social norms now that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. A black president? A Muslim Conservative Chairman? An out Gay Muslim Labour Baron? I rest my handbag.

  9. David Skinner 28 Jul 2012, 9:55am

    Can’t see what the problem is. Isn’t Ben Summerskill demanding that all gays “out themselves?” I thought being gay was something you were all proud of.

    The idiocy was for any one to be lured into indentifying themselves by any sexual orientation in the first place. I am a white, ango- saxon man, full stop.

    My predilection to swearing, lying, cheating, fornication, adultery, murder, slander and stealing are not genetic, they are as a result of a sinful nature , coupled with social influences.

    For anyone to fill in the sexual orientation box of a census form shows just how deluded and duped they have become . Tragic.

    1. Spanner1960 28 Jul 2012, 12:17pm

      By that remark, I assume you think your sexual orientation is something you choose. Most of us do not. If you don’t believe me, try changing it, many have tried to do it to others throughout history through many ways and means and failed. I am a white, Anglo-Saxon, homosexual male. None of those facts are ever going to change.

      1. Paddyswurds 28 Jul 2012, 2:55pm

        Best not to feed the troll, this one in particular. Everything it says is coloured by stories passed down from fearful desert goat herders 4 or 5 thousand years ago, who didn’t know where the sun went at night……

  10. How would the council know the precise sexual orientation of any of the people who live in borough?
    Can someone please explain.

    1. Disclosure by the individuals on surveys etc?

    2. Councils grade housing applicants on a points system, LGBT applicants usually score higher, along with various other groups.

      1. Spanner1960 28 Jul 2012, 5:58pm

        er… may I ask why?
        What the hell difference does my sexuality make to whether or not I get a council house? Yet more lefty positive discrimination bullsh|t.

        1. Homophobia,Transphobia Racism Pregnancy Disability, to name a few.

          (I think)

          1. Spanner1960 29 Jul 2012, 12:37pm

            What are you getting at? I can see why positive discrimination might be an element in employment, but this is councils that pick where people live. Pregnant and disabled people is understanable, but why should a black, TS, or gay person have any disadvantage over anybody else? Go stand in the queue and take your turn.

      2. essexgirlbecky 29 Jul 2012, 2:10am

        PMSL. (Anyone from Stonewall Housing or Albert Kennedy Trust feel free to chip in.) The main reason people become homeless in the UK is because, in 37% of cases, parents, family, or friends are no longer willing or able to accommodate. I am sure that is a statistic which resonates with a lot of LGBT people. When A and B apply to a local authority for assisted housing and A gets preference because of family ties to the area, we need to know why B hasn’t got those ties.

  11. My first reaction was to ask what business the Council has in collecting this information in the first place. The comments here have answered that: thank you, I am better informed now.

    BUT this is still appalling and negligent on the council’s part. Data collected for monitoring should not be stored along with the normal data for operation of the housing arrangements. If people’s GBLTQ identity puts them in special need of housing, that is *really* sensitive information, and, again shouldn’t be stored in the normal database.

    Database design isn’t rocket science. Islington have failed badly here. This bad disclosure was obviously an accident waiting to happen, based on underlying poor processes.

  12. Dennis Velco 29 Jul 2012, 3:56pm

    Thanks for this article and your reporting. What you do is appreciated.

    I posted it to my LGBT Group on LinkedIn to spur members to read your article and to make comment. I also scooped it at Scoop.It on my LGBT Times news mashup.

    Link to group >> http://www.linkedin.com/groups/LGBT-Gay-GLBT-Professional-Network-63687/about

    All LGBT+ and community allies…. please come join me and 15,000+ of your soon to be great connections on LinkedIn. The member base represents 80% of the world’s countries. As well as the down stream in my LInkedIn personal connections that reach over 24 million potential live stream viewers on LinkedIn alone.

    The group is strictly professional office friendly dialog, posting and profiles / profile images. I’ve been told by many that it may well be one of the best run / managed groups on LinkedIn.

    You can be as out or private as you like and I provide instructions on how to set those preferences.

  13. GingerlyColors 29 Jul 2012, 6:06pm

    The Freedom Of Information Act does not give organsations the right to invade peoples’ privacy. Many gay people do not wish to disclose their sexual orientation for a wide variety reasons. I disclose mine to people who I choose to associate with, not those I have to work with.

  14. Very interesting account from the mysociety website explaining how they discovered this and the action they took:

    http://www.mysociety.org/2012/07/26/a-private-data-leak-by-islington-council-mysocietys-statement/

  15. Keith Farrell 30 Jul 2012, 10:25am

    I would think something of this magnitude shows just how unsafe we are with our information having to be supplied for all these equal opportunities documents, I wonder if the same thing happens with companies when you apply for a post and have to fill out this sort of information. I think it is almost a invasion of privacy

  16. I was one of those affected. They sent me a letter telling me that certain information had been disclosed in error. Although my sexuality isn’t a secret I find it appalling that they seem to treat people’s data so casually and then only be able to “more or less” guarantee it won’t happen again. Pffft!

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