back to article Brit Conservative Party used 10 million people's names to derive their country of origin, ethnicity and religion according to ICO report

The UK's ruling Conservative Party has been using personal data in a way that spots an individual's likely county of origin, ethnic origin and religion based on their first and last name. According to an ICO report, the Tory party purchased so-called "estimated onomastic data" and appended it to the records of 10 million …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shame that Stanley Johnson wasn't an Onomastist.

    Or did I spell it wrongly?

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Shame that Stanley Johnson wasn't an Onomastist.

      I think you may have meant onanist...

  2. fidodogbreath Silver badge
    Coat

    Is determining someone's ethnicity & religion by the sound of a name a form of onomatopoeia?

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Sounds like it.

      1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
        Pint

        Optional

        What you did there - I see. Clever ------>

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    So what did they think of Boris ?

    It says here that Boris is Bulgarian or Russian so will he be under special surveillance?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So what did they think of Boris ?

      I was thinking more about Mark Francois or top scumbag Mr Farage. Given the latter doesn't rhyme his with cabbage they're clearly French and should fuck off back there. :-)

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: So what did they think of Boris ?

        A friend's son was at Dulwich with Farage, apparently then he did rhyme his name with cabbage...

        1. cd

          Re: So what did they think of Boris ?

          I've wondered why they don't call his followers Farangists.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: So what did they think of Boris ?

      His first name is Alexander...

      1. Youngone

        Re: So what did they think of Boris ?

        So he's Macedonian? Not that he's particularly great.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So what did they think of Boris ?

      It says here that Boris is Bulgarian or Russian so will he be under special surveillance?

      I'm sure I read somewhere, and I can't remember where off the top of my head, that some of Spaffer's ancestry is Turkish.

      As for Farage The Frog-Faced Fuckstick, I'd quite happily see him fuck off to somewhere like Mars, it looks like since his attempt to become Don Cheeto's fluffer has failed so he'll probably piss off to Germany, from whence came his missus.

      This being the case, all I can offer our German friends is sincere apologies on behalf of those of us who have measurable cognitive function and see him for the xenophobic bullshitter he actually is.

      1. staringatclouds

        Re: So what did they think of Boris ?

        he's an American immigrant born in New York with Turkish ancestry - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Johnson

        He had dual citizenship until the IRS gave him a bill

        Johnson's paternal great-grandfather was Circassian-Turkish journalist Ali Kemal

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Call me Heinz 57

    I'm not from the UK, I have a Welsh first name, an English surname, with Scandinavian genes, I'm an atheist and don't live in the country where I was born... good thing they didn't use my useless data?

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Call me Heinz 57

      You are David Smith and I claim my £5.

      1. Captain Hogwash

        Re: Call me Heinz 57

        Ah yes. David & Goliath, that classic tale of Welsh heroism.

      2. chivo243 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Call me Heinz 57

        You, Sir, are half right... Is an upvote worth 5 quid for partial credit?

        And one of these-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------^

        Does knowing half of the answer send you down the rabbit hole? See you on the other side!

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Call me Heinz 57

      I think the ultimate purpose of this kind of profiling is to tell different lies to different people about the party's policies.

      I think I saw this covered in Private Eye at the level of election campaign leaflets - but they had got their Hindus muddled with their Muslims and I think promised to send voters back where they came from or something like that.

  5. TimMaher Silver badge
    Windows

    Liberal Democrat’s

    They had as many as 25 voters?

    Did I read that wrong?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Liberal Democrat’s

      They're the ones who don't want more of the same, year in year out.

      They also want real democracy rather than a two party state.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

        Re: Liberal Democrat’s

        They want, approximately, a New Labour party that isn't Labour but has a different name.

        Hardly revolutionary.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

          Re: Liberal Democrat’s

          3 Downvotes, no explanation why. They are more similar than they aren't.

          The Lib Dems are progressive liberals, just like New Labour, as opposed to classical liberals ( parts of the Tory and Brexit parties ).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Liberal Democrat’s

            The explanation is that generally, the Lib Dems want what's good for the public. As opposed to the "me first, party next and the country last, the least transparency the better, and it's not wrong unless you caught" philosophies of the two main parties.

            Labour are not "progressive liberals", they are just red Tories. They are simply the other side of the Tory coin. And they certainly don't represent the working class.

            1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

              Re: Liberal Democrat’s

              What a childish response.

              Thanks for explaining the downvotes in your attitude. I forgot that El Reg isn't all grownups now.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Liberal Democrat’s

                Attacking the messenger is the last resort and only option for someone who can't defend their position.

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Liberal Democrat’s

      Here in Scotland the FibDems are polling at less than the 5% required to play on the List, the only way they are likely to get seats next May. Sadly since the Lists are regional they may squeak in in the Northern Isles at least but possibly not over in Fife which would mean Wee Willie Rennie their anonymous leader will not get in. Oh dear, what a pity, never mind.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Liberal Democrat’s

        I love in Rennie's constituency. If nothing else, the close voting in North-east Fife means we actually get canvassers! Rennie isn't a particularly good constituency MSP, and the MP we have down in Westminster is utterly anonymous. Come May, my vote is going SNP1, other indy party for the list (we use the D'Hondt system for Scottish elections) - I hope the ISP stand a candidate, since they seem a sensible bunch.

  6. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
    Stop

    Synonymy

    Onomastic == Onanistic, ISTM.

    1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Silver badge

      Re: Synonymy

      Onomastic is also a kitchen / bathroom sealant that you _really_ don't want to see being applied.

      1. Captain Hogwash
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Synonymy

        See icon!

  7. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

    Ow can “estimated onomastic data” based on already known name be covered by GDPR? It is not new private data, it is derivative of the data which is already available.

    1. I am the liquor

      If it's personal data, it's covered by GDPR. It doesn't have to be private.

      It definitely is personal. But given that it's the output of more-or-less-random guesswork, maybe there's an argument that it's not actually data.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "It definitely is personal. But given that it's the output of more-or-less-random guesswork, maybe there's an argument that it's not actually data."

        Yes, this. Creating inferences based on personal data such as a name can be wildly inaccurate and therefore not data as such. eg "Patrick", who phoned me earlier today claiming to be from an Essex based telecoms company with a Sheffield dialling code and a Bangalore accent. Clearly he was Irish!!

  8. clyde666

    Accuracy

    If the writer could be bothered to get the party names right, I might take this story a bit more seriously.

    1. albaleo

      Re: Accuracy

      I take it you're referring the use of "Nationalist" instead of "National" in the SNP's name. It's a fair point.

  9. NeilPost Silver badge

    Fine ?!

    So based on BA and Marriott.. they will plea poverty.

    Lib Dem’s fined £1

    Labour Fined £1

    SNP no fine, but suggest their independence international tradable currency is not the rUK Pound, New Scottish Pound, or Euro but ... The Bog Roll

    Tory’s fined 100 guinea’s.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Fine ?!

      According to the article, the SNP along with others listed, don't buy in commercial data at all, let alone of that type; there was no mention of what data they may or may not use from non-commercial sources though.

      "The Scottish Nationalist Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Plaid Cymru and UKIP "did not source any commercially available data," the report added."

      Sorry to spoil your joke.

  10. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Not a consultancy?

    '" If [...] processors only receive advice when they are found to be acting unlawfully, then they have no incentive to get it right the first time. The ICO must regulate. It is not a consultancy"'

    I had a case based on lack of transparency in a privacy notice rejected by the ICO, on the ground that "we consider examples of processing in the basis of legitimate interest to be sufficient". When I challenged this on the basis that a data subject is entitled to object to specific instances of legitimate interest processing, but can't object to something they haven't been told about, the ICO responded that it had only provided "an opinion". What could be more like a consultancy than that?

  11. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The Register has contacted the Conservative Party for comment

    *crash* Mr Cain *ooft" is a little *thump* busy right *argh* now. His successor *thwack" will call you *scream* back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Register has contacted the Conservative Party for comment

      Odd you should mention him. I'm sure it's one of those coincidences which happen all the time that he should be sacked, and Cummings announce his resignation, shortly after this story comes out.

      Pure coincidence.

      (And so close to when a former adviser to Chancellor Sajid Javid, Sonia Khan, received a five-figure confidential payment from the government to settle a wrongful-dismissal lawsuit. You remember Javid. He quit because he wouldn't accept Cummings-supplied advisers, and wanted his own.)

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: The Register has contacted the Conservative Party for comment

        It is as though someone is burying the bodies as quickly as possible before someone else comes in to rake everything over.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He called on the ICO to make demands forcefully.

    make... demands...forcefully....

    as in:

    ICO: BOSS! I want a payrise, and I want it NOW! And IF you refuse... IF YOU REF

    Boss: You're disbanded. Next!

  13. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Meanwhile, at FaceBook, Google, and Amazon...

    Ads are constantly being displayed with far, far greater granularity.

    Unpopular (with the powers at $corporation$) ideas are squelched, while popular ones are amplified.

    I'm not saying that the law should be ignored, I just find it weird that this barely-better-than-amature effort is being called out.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021