Merton residents' names and addresses sold by council to estate agents and security firms
Merton Council was paid £3,000 to sell residents personal details contained in the edited electoral register.
A Freedom of Information request by independent watchdog Big Brother revealed that 307 councils sold residents’ information between May 2007 and May 2012.
Merton Council sold information contained in the edited electoral register to 29 different companies.
The edited electoral register is made of up all those people who register to vote and do not opt-out.
Companies which purchased information from the council included Winkworth, Christopher St James, Wimbledon Tennis Letting Ltd, Security Ltd, Rural Living, Sutton & East Surrey Water, Swinton, Qudos Estates, Quinton Scott Estate and Foxtons.
The report has prompted calls for the Government to abolish the edited register, or allow councils to offer people a permanent opt-out instead of the current system which requires people to opt out annually.
The edited electoral register was introduced in 2002 Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: "Registering to vote is a basic part of our democracy and should not be a back door for our names and addresses to be sold to anyone and everyone.
"Many people don’t realise that the pizza shops and estate agents drowning their doorsteps with junk mail are able to do so because their local council is forced to sell the names of every voter who fails to tick the right box when they register to vote.
"The edited register is a pointless waste of council time, undermines trust in the electoral system and contributes to huge volumes of junk mail.
"It should be abolished."
All decisions over the release of information on the edited electoral register is held with central government.
Councillor Mark Allison, cabinet member for finance, said: "The Government sets pricing guidelines for any person or organisation who wants to buy a copy of the register.
"This covers the cost of producing it, and local councils don’t profit in any way."
The office of Chloe Smith, cabinet office minister for political and constitutional reform, was contacted for a comment but did not provide one at time of press.
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