THE HS2 high-speed rail company had the power to gather private data on people opposed to the controversial scheme, according to official documents.

It has been forced to withdraw a document that reportedly stated it could gather sensitive information about the opponents’ sexual orientation, mental health and political views.

READ MORE: Beyond Brexit: Hospitals risk losing EU staff lifeline after Brexit 

HS2, which is a non-departmental government body, withdrew its publicly available privacy notice after the Sunday Express found it contained provisions that would allow it to access and “process personal data”.

The data could include details of individuals’ sexual orientation, trade union affiliation, criminal record,  and physical and mental health, according to the newspaper.

The firm said it would ensure no “inappropriate” information was being held.
Privacy notices are the most common way organisations can be transparent with individuals about how their personal data will be used, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

HS2’s notice said data could be collected on staff and suppliers but also complainants and litigants, including those who may be objecting to the £55.7 billion railway or claiming compensation.

READ MORE: Beyond Brexit: Hospitals risk losing EU staff lifeline after Brexit 

It has now withdrawn its privacy notice from the Government’s website.
An HS2 spokesman said: “We have withdrawn the privacy notice with immediate effect. It does not reflect how we handle information.

“We will carry out an audit on data to ensure we do not hold anything inappropriate. At no point has HS2 Ltd used any information held for financial gain.”