[Osmf-talk] Access to OSM-F membership list WAS Re: [OSM-talk] Status of the Local Chapter working group

David Earl david at frankieandshadow.com
Thu Aug 13 10:19:48 UTC 2009

On 13/08/2009 11:05, Nick Black wrote:
> The list of OSM-F members is not available.  This is due to privacy  
> laws in the UK.  

In a different context I was looking at UK charitable status for an 
organisation. We were most surprised to find that the Charities 
Commission model constitution for unincorporated organisations requires 
all members names and addresses to be made available to any other member 
on demand. When we queried this in the light of data protection (and 
members' wish for privacy) we received the following reply:

   Unincorporated associations are under the control of their members.
   Professor Jean Warburton in her textbook on Unincorporated
   Associations states:

   "Unincorporated associations are under the control of the members
   themselves and it is they who see that the rules are observed. It is
   very important, therefore, to make sure that a full and up to date
   list of members is kept at all times......"

   As an association needs a list of members and as an association has no
   legal identity apart from its members, it follows that each member is
   entitled to see the list of members. With regard to the Data
   Protection Act, persons agreeing to be members agree to be bound by
   the constitution. They are therefore consenting to the provisions of
   the constitution.

   The requirement in the Data Protection Act is that personal data shall
   be processed fairly and lawfully and in particular shall not be
   processed unless one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met. One of
   those conditions is that the data subject has given his or her consent
   to the processing. Accordingly, there is no difficulty regarding the
   compatibility of  Clause 7(4) with the data protection principles.

The keeping of a list and the availability of a list are not the same 
thing, despite the "it follows...", and I think their reply does not 
preclude keeping the list private, but strongly assumes the opposite for 
democratic reasons and they see no conflict with data protection law. 
The same could presumably extend to email addresses or anything else you 
chose to specify in a constitution.


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