Legal aid applicants' personal details are not being shared with Amazon for commercial purposes, the Legal Aid Agency has clarified, after a human rights solicitor questioned the e-commerce giant's appearance on an application form.
A privacy notice within the Legal Help, Help at Court and Family Help (Lower) form states that personal information may be shared with public bodies such as HM Revenue & Customs, non-public organisations such as credit reference agencies and its debt collection partner, and fraud prevention agencies.
However, civil liberties and human rights solicitor Andrew Frederick, a consultant at London firm Scott-Moncrieff & Associates, questioned in a blog posted last week why Amazon Web Services Inc, a subsidiary of Amazon, was on the list under a section entitled 'Who the information may be shared with'.
Frederick said the public and non-public organisations seemed fair. But 'there is no obvious reason' why the agency might need to share information, such as an applicant's marital status, job, savings and childcare payments, with Amazon.
The LAA assured the Gazette that applicants' data is not shared with Amazon. Amazon Web Services, a cloud platform, appears on the list because the agency uses its web hosting service.
Organisations that handle the personal information of people in the EU must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, which stipulates what information must be shared in a privacy notice. This includes any recipient of an individual's data, and details regarding any transfer of personal data to a third country and the safeguards taken.
The legal help form states: 'It may sometimes be necessary to transfer personal information overseas. When this is needed, information may be transferred to United States of America. Any transfers made will be in full compliance with all aspects of the data protection law.'