Home Office plans to deny immigrants access to data ‘are illegal’


Plans to deny millions of people the right to access immigration data held on them by the Home Office are illegal and will be challenged in court, the government has been told. Organisations representing up to 3 million EU citizens living in the UK and digital rights activists have written to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, giving notice that they will take legal action if a clause in the data protection bill is enacted.

The threat is aimed at proposals in the bill to introduce an exemption for immigration information. It is claimed that the clause would prevent those facing deportation from obtaining and challenging the accuracy of personal data held on them by the government. The two groups – the3million, a grassroots organisation representing EU citizens living in the UK, and the Open Rights Group (ORG), which campaigns on privacy rights and free speech online – argue that the clause in the bill breaches the government’s obligations under the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR).

The bill will be debated in parliament on Monday. Rosa Curling, a human rights solicitor from law firm Leigh Day, which is acting on behalf of the3million and ORG, said: “The immigration exemption creates a discriminatory two‐tier system for data protection rights. The clause is incompatible with GDPR, as well as EU law generally and the European convention on human rights.(theguardian)…[+]