Tax Office Told to Delete 5m Voice ID Recordings

By Gary Cutlack on at

HMRC is in trouble with the ICO for failing to gain adequate permission from its customers before signing them up to voice-recognition systems -- so it's been told to delete around five million data files. It will at least free up quite a bit of the national hard drive space.

The ICO says the tax office breached data laws in failing to tell people their voice recordings would be kept for analysis and did not give them an option to opt out of the process, meaning the data was unlawfully held. The ICO's Steve Wood said: "Our investigation exposed a significant breach of data protection law -- HMRC appears to have given little or no consideration to it with regard to its Voice ID service."

The initial complaint came from Big Brother Watch, which grassed on HMRC for not adhering to the GDPR scheme's enhanced conditions for use and retention of biometric data. Which is what you saying "yes" seven times in increasingly angry tones to talk to a call centre employee is.

1.5 million taxpayers will still have their voice data kept by HMRC, though, as will anyone who used the service since last October, when a clearer consent process was introduced. [ICO via BBC]