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The Masked Tulip

Removing Personal Details From Estate Agent Database?

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I was chatting with an EA office a few days ago about removing my personal details from their database and they surprised me by informing me that they could not do so.

They said that they could change someone's details to no longer looking but it was not possible to delete their information.

Surely this is illegal under the data protection act?

As it is, any EA firm doing this is actually building up a very comprehensive DB of who has bought and sold in a given area.

Thoughts?

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I was chatting with an EA office a few days ago about removing my personal details from their database and they surprised me by informing me that they could not do so.

They said that they could change someone's details to no longer looking but it was not possible to delete their information.

Surely this is illegal under the data protection act?

As it is, any EA firm doing this is actually building up a very comprehensive DB of who has bought and sold in a given area.

Thoughts?

If I remember my Data Protection training correctly you have a choice about whether or not your data is stored and you can choose to have it removed. It must be kept up to date and only for the purpose it was originally intended for or for purposes you have specifically agreed to (it may be in the small print when you sign up with the agent e.g. You may have agreed for it to be kept for direct marketing purposes). Try the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) website for more information. It would be illegal for them to hold your data indefinitely without your permission although I suspect they would be allowed a reasonable amount of time to delete it. Not being able to delete would be a significant audit issue. Ultimately data protection breeches are criminal offenses,

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There is no right to have personal data deleted under the data protection act.

There is a right for you to have a copy.

Where data is collected and held, it can only be used for the purposes for which it was original gathered. It can only be stored for as long as is reasonably required for its use (for example, it is reasonable to store business invoices for 6 years, as there is a legal requirement to maintain tax records for this period of time).

You can object to a data holder processing the data (i.e. you can ask that they stop using the data; in practice this will mean deleting it), only if that use is causing "unwarranted substantial damage or distress". However, the objection is only valid if none of the following conditions apply: you have consented to its processing; the processing is necessary for the process of entering or executing a business contract; the processing is needed because of a legal obligation; or if the processing is for your own "vital interests".

So, let's say yoou take out a loan, and later default; the bank takes your personal details records them and passes them to a credit reference agency. You then go to buy a mobile phone, but are denied the contract due to inadequate credit. You can make an objection to the bank and credit reference agency to withdrawing your consent to data processing and objecting to continued processing. While the objection is valid, neither bank nor credit reference agency need to comply only if they are satisfied that the damage is "unwarranted" and "substantial". In this case, there are legitimate business reasons for recording the application for credit, and the consequences arising from the use of that data is not "unwarranted".

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I was chatting with an EA office a few days ago about removing my personal details from their database and they surprised me by informing me that they could not do so.

They said that they could change someone's details to no longer looking but it was not possible to delete their information.

Surely this is illegal under the data protection act?

As it is, any EA firm doing this is actually building up a very comprehensive DB of who has bought and sold in a given area.

Thoughts?

Google...data protection act letter remove details...or words to that effect and you will get the wording for a legal letter to send them...they MUST delete your details when requested.

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There is no right to have personal data deleted under the data protection act.

There is a right for you to have a copy.

Where data is collected and held, it can only be used for the purposes for which it was original gathered. It can only be stored for as long as is reasonably required.....

The point is that if MT is no longer looking there is no longer a reason to hold the data so to keep the data means that they are holding it for longer than is reasonably required.

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Report them. Then they'll get off their lazy, complacent arses.

If I am justified in doing so - which I believe I am - I will formally write to them and give them the required time. If they haven't removed the info by then I will report them.

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Already some good answers on here but in relation to deleting them, this may be the case.

ICO advise you to 'suppress' rather than delete as with deletion you lose the info around the fact it was asked to be deleted. This may be what they are confused with.

Bu tif you instruct them to stop processing your information then they will stop contacting you.

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