Letter: Let the bank customer beware

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The Independent Online
THE revelation that NatWest records some customers' political affiliations on its computer database (front page, 18 July) is yet another example of the mess which is data protection law. My own bank, Barclays, is quite entitled to reveal details of my credit card account to any past, present or future employer, since that would be in accordance with its registration particulars specifying potential disclosees, with which I am notionally supposed to have agreed.

Ironically, as an unsuccessful case brought by the Data Protection Registrar against the Halifax Building Society showed, it is extremely difficult to secure a conviction for disclosure contrary to the registration particulars against a large corporation, since the prosecution has to show that the disclosure was made knowingly.

Without belittling the achievements of the Registrar in performing his onerous and thankless task, his recent recognition of serious loopholes in the law comes very late in the day.

G Colin Jimack

London N22