- Widespread use of ICT has made the processing and transfer of data much easier.
- All Member States in the European Economic Area (EEA) had data protection laws, so the UK had to have them as well. This would allow the free passage of personal data from one Member State to another, which is essential when conducting business.
- The Act gives rights to the individual to find the information stored about them and to check whether it is correct. If the information is wrong, they can have it altered and may be able to claim damages if they suffered loss resulting from this wrong information.
What data is classed as personal data?
Personal data is:
- Data about an identifiable person
- Who is alive
- Specific to that person
The data subject must be capable of being identified from the information. Usually this would mean that the name and address would be part of the data but it could be that the person could be identified simply by other data given. Data specific to a particular person would include:
- Medical history
- Credit history
- Religious beliefs
- Criminal records
Eight Data Protection Principles
- Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully.
- Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.
- Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose/s for which they are processed.
- Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
- Personal data processed for any purpose/s shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for the purpose/s.
- Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under this Act.
- Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.
- Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensure an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.