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Data Protection Law - Basics

This is not an attempt to set out the full law on Data Protection in the UK. Instead I will introduce the basic ideas, and highlight some of the more controversial issues it raises, bit by bit.

The Data Protection Act 1984 was rather minimalist. It did no more than was required to implement what the government of the day had to implement. It has always been a system concerned above all else with a rather empty system of registration. So much effort has gone into achieving even minimum levels of registration, and such a minimal budget has been provided, that the Registrar(s) have had little or no opportunity to explore more exciting waters.

The hope is that the Data Protection Act 1998 will allow the Commissioner to 'enforce' the right of privacy, concentrating upon that rather than on the minutiae of a system of registration.


The Data Protection Act 1998 implements the European Directive '95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data'. See also Directive 97/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 1997 concerning the Processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the telecommunications sector.

Data protection law regulates the holding and use of information about private living individuals. It does not protect limited companies, but does protect individuals trading on their own account.

Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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18 October 2013 http://www.swarb.co.uk/lawb/dpBasics.shtml 69 18 October 2013