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Milestone Birthdays Announcements a thing of the past?

Scotland’s national archives have made a decision to stop publishing information regarding 100th birthdays and 60th wedding anniversaries because it believes it breaches the Data Protection Act – a move that the ICO is challenging.

The commissioner, Christopher Graham, who deals with data protection across the UK, said:

“We are surprised at suggestions that data protection legislation might prevent National Records of Scotland from informing local authorities about the upcoming anniversaries of residents.

“The Data Protection Act plays a very important role in protecting our personal information but ought not to be a barrier to sensible information sharing.

“Sometimes organisations misunderstand the law or simply use data protection as a duck out.

“However the law has not changed in this area and it is important that data protection legislation is not used as justification for withdrawing a long held tradition in the UK which many people continue to enjoy.

“We will be contacting the National Records of Scotland to address this apparent confusion.

The NRS’s change in policy was revealed after Fife couple Irvine and Louise Rae were confused when no councillor showed up to their diamond wedding celebrations.

A National Records of Scotland spokesman said: “With regard to Buckingham Palace, the process of distributing anniversary cards provides a direct communication between the Monarch and her subjects.”

A spokesman for the National Records of Scotland issued a later statement apparently blaming the birthday ban on Buckingham Palace. He said:

“In line with Buckingham Palace’s request, National Records of Scotland no longer provides details of significant celebrations to Lord Lieutenants in local authorities.

“We would be happy to consider ways in which we could assist Lord Lieutenants to continue the unique Scottish tradition of local community celebrations of significant birthdays and anniversaries.”

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman then suggested they may U-turn on the ban. She said:

“This practice of sharing information predates the data protection laws and we are now looking into the matter.”