As well as collecting information on staff and suppliers, this would have also allowed them to gather information from a range of sources, including healthcare, social and welfare advisers or practitioners, HM Revenue and Customs, law enforcement and security agencies and bodies.
As soon as the news of this broke, HS2 Ltd deleted the document from their website, but don’t worry here is a copy.
“Parliamentary reports have found HS2 guilty of maladministration and showing a complete disregard for the public, but this news presents a new low and shows the truly Orwellian mentality of this organisation. With so little evidence to support HS2, it has been clear since the start that the government has always intended to smear the public. We are absolutely shocked and disgusted that HS2 Ltd planned to pursue this strategy, which must have been endorsed by the government.
“We advise everyone who has been involved with HS2 to immediately request all files on them under the Data Protection Act.”
To request information about you held by any public body, you can make a Subject Access Request by email under the Data Protection Act 1998. Sometimes bodies charge £10 for this, but HS2 Ltd do not, or at least they never have so far. A template letter can be found at Big Brother Watch and more information can be found via the Information Commissioners website. Emails should be sent to HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk.
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said
“Having seen the policy I am absolutely flabbergasted by its extent. It basically allows HS2 Ltd to use any source to gather any data on anyone, or their friends and relatives, who has any connection with HS2 and then allows HS2 Ltd to give that information to anyone anywhere.
“Unfortunately this is less of a surprise then it should have been. Supporters of HS2 have previously run a smear campaign against people concerned about HS2, and this is just another new low.”
Renate Samson, chief executive of Big Brother Watch, told the Sunday Express:
“HS2’s approach to data protection is astonishing and quite frankly disgraceful, showing a complete disregard for people’s personal private lives and data protection law.
“The list of data HS2 may gather is so extensive it is unclear what personal information won’t be grabbed.
“The reasons given are entirely spurious. The idea that HS2 thinks it appropriate or even necessary to gather sensitive information about people’s sexuality, race, religion, political views, membership of organisations, lifestyle, interests or social media activities in order to make ‘Britain proud of HS2’ is unbelievable.
“This is just another example of Government bodies assuming access to personal data is theirs for the taking and that people should willingly hand over data without a care.”