Above: A primary aim of the GDPR law is to give control to individuals over their personal data. This became newly enforceable on May 25, 2018. © Shutterstock.com/Wright Studio


THE BUDGERIGAR SOCIETY has been accused of a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by publishing the facsimile signatures of more than 100 of its members without obtaining their permission.

In the November/December issue of The Budgerigar magazine, the BS included a voting paper with return envelope, and a copy of a requisition calling for an EGM, dated July 19, 2020. The copy reproduced the names, signatures and BS ring numbers of the proposer and seconder of the requisition, and of all the other signatories: 107 in total.

Within hours of receiving their magazine, numerous members had posted their protests on the BS Facebook page. A typical post read: “To the Chairman/Vice Chairman and the members of the BS GC, I’m in total disgust to see my personal data published in the latest edition of the BS magazine. I wasn’t asked or informed that it would be, which in my opinion is in breach of GDPR rules. I would like to know what the BS are going to do about holding those accountable for [their] actions and to rectify this MASSIVE problem.”

The voting paper and other documents refer to an EGM requisition from BS members Andy Edden (proposer) and Ricky Anderson (seconder). As previously reported in Cage & Aviary Birds, the EGM motion called for the removal of BS chairman Maurice Roberts on the grounds that the signatories had lost “faith and confidence” in him. The ban on face-to-face meetings caused by the pandemic had meant that no date had been fixed for the EGM.

In The Budgerigar, an “EGM update” explained that instead of the requested meeting, with agenda and discussion, the BS wished to settle the issue by postal ballot. It said: “In view of [the inability to hold a face-to-face meeting] the GC Board has decided to place the EGM requisition directly to all members for this matter to be decided.” The deadline given for the postal vote was December 15, 2020.

Having read this decision in a BS press release dated November 11, Messrs Edden and Anderson emailed BS administrator Grant Findlay. They wrote: “We would be happy for this [EGM] to take place on Zoom or wait for a time when a meeting in person can take place. If the idea of a postal EGM ballot had been put to [us] we would [have] explained that it would not be acceptable.” They asked for the BS Board to reconsider.

Mr Findlay replied by email: “The EGM is going ahead by postal vote within the November issue of The Budgerigar magazine.”

  • With the ballot paper, the BS included a strongly worded request for members to vote against the motion. In a column headed “Our Chairman and the EGM”, BS vice-chairman Ghalib Al-Nasser wrote: “I urge ALL members to exercise their right to vote and defeat this motion. If you do not vote then you may be placing the Society and this wonderful hobby of ours at risk.”
  • Article 4 of the EU GDPR defines a “personal data breach” as “a breach of security leading to the… unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed”.

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