It doesn’t surprise us, and by now it should NOT surprise you either.
An investigation by the BBC Shared Data Unit proves beyond all reasonable doubt that Folkestone & Hythe District Council website (along with many other council websites too), is clearly in breach of the General Data Protect Regulations (GDPR).
But it doesn’t just stop there. The Council’s website has advertising cookies – small text files that track people on the internet – embedded in the council home page and its benefits pages, yet doesn’t allow you to opt-out, nor does it collect your consent to allow these cookies. This it must do by law.
(The data can be download at the end of this blog post)
Suffice to say the Council is not just content with passing off fake press releases or allowing senior management with a dodgy history to manage a £100 million pounds, No! It now wants to track your every move while sharing advertising cookies you probably don’t want and certainly have NOT consented to.
In October 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that a pre-ticked consent box is not a sufficient degree of consent – instead, “active consent” is needed. A pre-ticked consent box is what Folkestone & Hythe District Council continues to use five months after the law changed, as do Shepway Green party – which is hardly transparent or compliant with the law.
The Cabinet Member responsible for the website is Cllr David Monk. The officers responsible are:
Tim Madden responsible for Digital Transformation. He earns £116K plus.
Amandeep Khroud – Monitoring Officer, responsible for ensuring compliance with the law. She earns £100K
What this proves is that incompetence is well rewarded at our Council.
The Company responsible for transforming the Council’s website is Arcus Global. Back in Oct 2018, they were awarded a £1.6 million pound contract. It’s clear they have little if any understanding of GDPR compliance. Nor do they appear to have any real knowledge of consent compliance and advertising cookies, because if they did they wouldn’t allow them on the Council’s website.
Although Folkestone & Hythe District Council is not the worst offender by a long shot. The fact is, it demonstrates those responsible do not understand this area of law and compliance. For these failings, the Council must once again report itself to the ICO for non-compliance and breaching your rights.
Meanwhile Arcus Global continues to receive a large monthly paycheck according to the payment to supplier’s data, even though it doesn’t appear to know what it is doing. Senior Council officers responsible for compliance and digital transformation are allowing dodgy advertising cookies use of the Council’s website to track residents of the district unlawfully and doing nothing to prevent it.
It is self-evident that the Peter Principle – which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their “level of incompetence”, is alive and well at the Council, as is the cognitive bias of Tim Madden & Amandeep Khroud who appear to believe their cognitive ability is greater than it is.
For the full dataset – click here
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful