LONDON — Britain’s privacy watchdog fined a data broker £140,000 (€155,000) on Thursday for illegally collecting and selling personal information to the country’s Labour Party, which used the information to target potential voters during last year’s general election.
The Information Commissioner’s Office said Lifecycle Marketing, which runs the Emma’s Diary website for expectant mothers, illegally sold information on more than one million people to Experian Marketing Services, a unit of a credit reference agency, for use by the Labour Party.
The party then used the online data to send targeted mail to mothers living in marginal electoral districts in an effort to convince them to vote Labour, according to the ICO. The company did not disclose that people’s information would be used by political parties.
“All organisations involved in political campaigning must use personal information in ways that are transparent, lawful and understood by the U.K. public,” Elizabeth Denham, head of the ICO, said in a statement.
“The relationship between data brokers, political parties and campaigns is complex,” she added. “Even though this company was not directly involved in political campaigning, the democratic process must be transparent.”
Spokespeople for Emma’s Diary and the Labour Party were not immediately available for comment.