Jack Straw's mealy-mouthed condemnation of the practice of insurance companies selling-on the details of those involved in accidents to ambulance-chasing lawyers for up to £1,000 a time is a little late. After all, much of the groundwork for the 'scam' opportunities was laid down when he was in government, much of it when he was Lord Chancellor.
Such practices would clearly be against the Data Protection Act, would be criminal, unless, as seems likely, the small print of our insurance policies contains a clause acknowledging that our data may be passed onto third parties - in other words, they have a defence in that we have consented. However, such a clause may be open to challenge under contract law legislation if consumers have no choice. This is a complex area of law and clearly needs testing in court - probably by a class action.
So I'm sure it won't be long before a new advert appears on daytime TV; "Have you been cold-called by an accident claims company? Have your personal details been passed on by your insurance company? Have ambulance-chasing lawyers pestered and harassed you? You could make a successful claim! Mr X of Wendover won £6,000 when his insurance company sold-on his personal details to a rep who called him 37 times on his mobile and left 40 texts. Contact us now!"
As thee sow so shall thee reap*
*This is often quoted as 'As ye sow' etc. but contrary to the beliefs of Hollywood scriptwriters no-one in English history ever actually said 'ye''; 'ye' is not and never has been a word in the English language. The superscript 'y' was used in written material as shorthand for 'th', thus 'As ye sow'