– Striving Small Town Families,
– Struggling Older Families Throughout Ireland,
– Struggling Rural Families,
– Struggling Young Families in the Countryside,
– Deprived Rural Families,
– Deprived Urban Families 8/n pic.twitter.com/tPoJvB0SCT
— Olga Cronin (@OlgaCronin) May 3, 2022
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has lodged a complaint with the Data Protection Commission over the processing and sale of personal data by GeoDirectory, a company operated by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI).
Via the Irish Council for Civil Liberties:
GeoDirectory sells location data about every Irish home, matched with intimate social demographic “GeoPeople” profiles about the income, life stage, and family status of the people who live in each home.
Over 2 million Irish homes and their residents are profiled in this way, under headings such as “striving urban singles”, “deprived urban families” or “struggling older families”.
ICCL has been able to buy data about people living across Ireland, including ICCL staff. These data are available to purchase by any company or organisation.
For example, GeoDirectory sells data to Experian, one of the world’s biggest data brokers. Experian then uses the data to set people’s credit ratings. Aviva, a major insurance firm, uses GeoDirectory data to set individual insurance prices and examine claims.
Marketing itself as having an “unrivalled location intelligence database”, GeoDirectory’s data comes from An Post, OSI and the Census, with GeoDirectory using the latter to create 14 separate social demographic profiles and assigning one to each household in Ireland. It is impossible to know how an accurate or inaccurate classification is potentially impacting a household.
ICCL’s Tech and Human Rights Officer, Olga Cronin, said:
“I was able to buy data about each of my neighbours, including their financial status, and whether they are single or not. This information is specially protected under EU law. But GeoDirectory is collecting, updating, storing and selling this data with utter ease and without consideration of GDPR. The company is also allowing businesses to identify the individual social demographic profile of everyone on their customer list by offering a service whereby they cross-reference a business’s customer list with that of GeoDirectory. This mass processing of every Irish household’s personal data without a legal basis or in adherence with GDPR cannot be lawful.”