WorldCheck, Data Protection, De-risking and You

THE PROBLEM

WorldCheck is a commercial database used by almost all of the largest banks to help them make risk assessments relating to new or existing bank accounts. Research has proven that the information on the database may be compromised. For more on this see:

•  A BBC Radio 4 programme (July 2015) and  BBC magazine article which reveals how the decision was made in 2014 by international banking giant HSBC to suddenly close the bank accounts of several prominent British Muslims, thereby uncovering the power of WorldCheck and its compromised database.

• A Dutch radio programme (June 2017) on how World Check has expanded into the global industry standard for the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. OneWorld and Argos found that hundreds of thousands of people are being extensively screened, with some people wrongly having their accounts closed.

Here and here  in the German Press (June 2017), again on questionable entries in the database.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Everyone has a right to request their data from WorldCheck. As WorldCheck is domiciled in London, the Data Protection Act applies and anyone can request their data from them, no matter where they are based. Ben Hayes, an Associate of Human Security Collective, has been encouraging people to request their data from WorldCheck. He is working with Ravi Naik, a London-based lawyer representing others impacted by WorldCheck’s activities, and they would be happy to make the subject access requests on behalf of individuals or organisations who think they are in the database. Anyone who has faced any sort of financial problem is encouraged to request their data.

Although experience shows that WorldCheck’s responses are frequently inadequate, as they do not usually provide full disclosure of the profiles, just knowing that you are on the database is obviously a significant start to redressing problems that groups and individuals may face. Disclosure of a profile may also give rise to consideration of a claim against WorldCheck (including a claim for full disclosure of all data). Again, Ben and Ravi are in a position to provide further advice when the response from WorldCheck is received.

For further information contact Ben (bh@riseup.net) or Ravi (rnaik@itnsolicitors.com)