The edited electoral register, used by many charities in their fundraising activities, should be abolished, according to a group of MPs.
The edited register, which does not contain details of people who have opted out of receiving marketing materials, is available for general purchase.
But a report from the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, published last Friday, says that after its inquiry into individual electoral registration and electoral administration, the edited register should be abolished.
"Whatever benefit it might bring, we cannot justify the sale to commercial organisations of personal details gathered by the government for electoral purposes," the report says.
"The Electoral Commission has suggested that if the government decides to keep the edited register, it should be changed to an opt-in system, instead of opt-out. We suspect that this option might well make the edited register too incomplete to be of much use."
A spokeswoman for the Institute of Fundraising said it was alarmed at the recommendation.
She said, however, that the organisation did not have any plans to lobby against the suggestion. It carried out some lobbying work after it warned last year that the edited register could be abolished.
Mike Wade, director of fundraising and communications at the National Deaf Children’s Society and chair of the institute’s Policy Advisory Board, said it was important that charities had access to the register.
"The edited electoral register is important to charities because the data it holds enables charities to fundraise more effectively," he said. "Charities are able to verify the information they hold on their databases and improve the accuracy of their mailings. This helps to cut down on the volume of unwanted mail sent by charities, ensuring the maximum amount can go to fund the charity’s work."
A spokesman for the select committee said it had sent its recommendations to the Cabinet Office, which would have two months to respond.