Thursday, December 13, 2007

Data Protection Developments Updates

Some latest developments on data protection:

  • The ICO called for a review of the data protection laws including a need for a data security breach notification, criminal sanctions and audit power. The transcript (uncorrected at present) is available here.
  • According to the latest press release, the ICO is currently investigating Facebook, following a complaint that one user could not delete his account. "Facebook does allow people to 'deactivate' their accounts. This means that most of their information becomes invisible to other viewers, but it remains on Facebook's servers - indefinitely." The data protection principles under the UK Data Protection Act 1998 is fairly clear that "personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes" (5th data protection principle). It seems slightly odd that a user on FB account, who wishes to remove their profile from FB could not have their personal data deleted. One awaits to see what developments arise on this front. See also an interesting article on the social implications arising from the use of FB here.
  • Adequate level of data protection in Jersey and the Faroe Islands: "The Working Party adopted two Opinions, on the adequate level of data protection in both Jersey and the Faroe Islands, which will enable the Commission to take further steps towards a Commission decision on adequacy. In the past the Commission has adopted adequacy decisions on such countries as Switzerland and Argentina after receiving the advice of the Art. 29 Working Party. The Commission decision makes the transfer of personal data to such countries much easier than to third countries in relation to which such a decision has not been adopted." (Art. 29 Working Party Press Release, October 2007).
Update: Headed by Richard Thomas and Dr Mark Walport, there is consultation on the use and sharing of personal information in the public and private sectors as part of their independent Data Sharing Review. The closing date is 15 February 2008. Further details of the consultation can be found here.

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