Thursday, February 22, 2007

Data Protection Act 1998

I received a recent press release about changes to be made to the UK Data Protection Act 1998 to strengthen the penalties against those who misuse personal information.

Following the results of a consultation paper launched last summer, the Department of Constitutional Affairs has announced that much tougher powers to sentence those found guilty of breaching Data Protection principles will be given to courts. For the first time, this will mean that courts may impose prison sentences for individuals who trade in, or deliberately misuse personal data. The change is intended to combat the illegal trade in personal information which has become highly profitable in recent years. Several reports by the Information Commissioner have highlighted the inadequacy of current penalties, as the fines imposed on those who breach the provisions of the Data Protection Act do not appear to have deterred others from participating in the trade. In the worst cases, judges will have the power to impose prison sentences of up to two years in addition to unlimited fines.

This follows a recent report from the ICO who called for tougher penalties against those who are involved in the illegal trade of personal information. See:

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