Data Protection Act

By Bradley Desave

What is the Data Protection Act?

Computer systems now hold personal information on millions of people. This needs to be protected as much as possible so that it stays private and is used properly by those who gathered it. The 1998 Data Protection Act is an act by the UK government which defines UK law on the processing of data of people,

What does it do?

It was made to control the way information is handled and to give legal rights to people who have information stored about them. It gives eight principles about the processing of peoples data. In summary these eight principles cover:


  • Who will be able to access the data?
  • Is the data still accurate?
  • Will the data be sold?
  • Will the data be removed if it is no longer needed for its original purpose?
  • The data is used for the purposes stated and nothing more

Who has to Obey the Data Protection Act?

In some cases the act does not have to be followed, an example is data that is held for a national security and also data that is held for domestic purposes. There are also partial exemptions to the act such as taxman or police, as well as health information if it is believed that it will benefit the patient not knowing.