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British tax spies on Elton
Posted by editor

Low practice to be routed

Wednesday 22
January 2003 @ 7:59

Elton told an interview for LBC Radio’s relaunch on January 6, 2003, that he was proud to pay his tax bills in the UK. He may be less happy to read this…

UK Inland Revenue staff have been caught prying into the wealth of leading celebrities such as Elton John, reported The Mirror on January 17, 2003.

David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Paul McCartney and Elton are among the victims of curious civil servants opening their computer files.

Dozens of the Revenue’s 60,000 staff with access to computers have illegally tapped into confidential documents.

Some have checked up how much their ex-spouse is earning and passed on the information to the Child Support Agency. Others are known to have sold on information to private detective agencies.

Senior Revenue official Tony O’Dwyer said: “There have been a number of instances of celebrity browsing or looking up the details of family or friends out of curiosity.

“But there is also evidence that some people are using the information maliciously.

“That is clearly a breach of customer confidentiality and the Data Protection Act.”

Action has been taken in the past against staff, including a bar on promotion and financial penalties.

But a Revenue spokesman promised much tougher treatment from now on. Of 226 cases of computer misuse in 2001, only two staff were prosecuted. Staff are being given a code of conduct to prevent hacking into files.

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