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Which way now for database screening?

Which way now for database screening?

It looks like database screening may not be as popular as it once was.

I have been wrestling with reviewing data protection, wondering whether “legitimate interest” is an acceptable basis on which to retain data on identifiable individuals. As mentioned in a previous blog, I have been reassured that it is OK to undertake research for clients and then delete data on identifiable individuals.

According to its website, Factary decided last year to “dissolve” its internal database and remove all its information from its servers. Factary no longer maintains such a database, and doesn’t intend to do so in the future. Factary now maintains a database (Office of National Statistics, Land Registry, etc) of statistical information of geographical wealth indicators in the UK. This database is now used for Factary’s current database screening service. It contains no personal information, or information that would allow the personal identification of any individuals.

When database screening was being discussed in autumn 2015, I gave a presentation at the Researchers in Fundraising Conference, showing how fundraisers and researchers can undertake database screening using standard Microsoft software and some freely available data, including the Land Registry.

According to the Prospecting for Gold (PfG) website, PfG still maintains its Wealth Intelligence Database, containing information on over 240,000 UK-based millionaires and influential people.

It looks like the Information Commissioner will publish advice on “legitimate interest” some time in 2018.

Finbar Cullen, ResearchPlus

Finbar Cullen established ResearchPlus in 2005 to provide fundraising research services for the not-for-profit sector. He researches people, companies and grant-making trusts and foundations, mostly in the UK, but also other parts of the world. Finbar has published directories of “unpublished” grant-making trusts (registered with the Charity Commission and with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), and each month he contributes to The Trust List, highlighting newly registered grant-making trusts worthy of particularly close attention.

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