Shocking. The UK’s major construction firms maintained a blacklist of troublemakers to be denied work — radicals, trade unionists, or simply workers who pointed out on-site safety issues. According to the investigator at the Information Commissioner’s Office:
the relationship between the Consulting Association [which maintained the blacklist] and the police and security services appeared to have been nurtured when the organisation went under an earlier guise as the Economic League, at a time when the state was keen to liaise with major building firms to discover as much as it could about Irish construction workers amid the threat of IRA terrorism.
Of course this stuff just gets easier and easier as time goes by. I’d bet money that some counterpart to the Consulting Association is right now identifying troublemakers from facebook or linkedin, selling their names to one employer or another. Perhaps the police are collaborating, perhaps they aren’t — it maybe matters less than it once did, as police records are only one information source among many.