The Equality and Human Rights Commission is today publishing a report that shows current privacy law is failing to stop breaches of personal data privacy and is not keeping pace with the rapid growth in personal data collection.
In response to the research findings the Commission wants the government to bring in changes that will better protect personal information.
The report shows that the way government and its agencies collect, use and store personal data is deeply flawed. They may be unaware that they are breaking the law as the complexity of the legal framework means their obligations are unclear.
It also finds that it is difficult for people to know what information is held on them, by which government agency or private sector body, or how it is being used. For example, as there is currently no law regulating the use of CCTV cameras it would be very difficult for someone to find which organisations hold footage of them.
It can be hard to check the accuracy of personal data held, to hold anyone to account for errors in the data or its misuse and to challenge decisions made about someone on the basis of that information. Calling any public or private organisation to account is made more difficult because people often may not know what their rights are or know when a breach of those rights has occurred...
In response to the report’s findings, the Commission is making three recommendations to government:
- streamline the current legislation on information privacy so that it is easier for organisations to understand their responsibilities and simpler for citizens to know and use their rights.
- ensure that public bodies and others have to properly justify why they need someone’s personal data and for what purpose. Any requirement to use personal data for any purpose other than for which it was collected should go through a vetting process. Organisations should ensure they comply with the current data protection and RIPA regimes, in addition to the Human Rights Act.
- all public bodies should carefully consider the impact on information privacy of any new policy or practice and ensure that all requests for personal data are justified and proportionate.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Equality and Human Rights Commission says information privacy laws flawed
15 August 2011