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ICT

Data Protection Act

The rights of data subjects

People whose personal data [data: information without context, eg a list of students with numbers beside their names is data, when it's made clear that those numbers represent their placing in a 100 metre race, the data becomes information ] is stored are called data subjects [data subject: anyone who has data stored about them that's outside their direct control ]. The DPA [Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA): legislation passed by parliament that governs the protection of personal data in the UK ] sets up rights for people who have data kept about them. You need to know these rights for the exam. They are:

  1. A Right of Subject Access

    A data subject has a right to be supplied by a data controller [data controller: a company or an individual that collects and stores data about people ] with the personal data held about him or her. The data controller can charge for this (usually around £10 pounds).

  2. A Right of Correction

    A data subject may force a data controller to correct any mistakes in the data held about them.

  3. A Right to Prevent Distress

    A data subject may prevent the use of information [information: data with context or meaning ] if it would be likely to cause them distress.

  4. A Right to Prevent Direct Marketing

    A data subject may stop their data being used in attempts to sell them things (eg by junk mail or cold calling.)

  5. A Right to Prevent Automatic Decisions

    A data subject may specify that they do not want a data user to make "automated" decisions about them where, through points scoring, a computer decides on, for example, a loan application.

  6. A Right of Complaint to the Information Commissioner

    A data subject can ask for the use of their personal data to be reviewed by the Information Commissioner [information commissioner: the individual responsible for enforcing the Data Protection Act ] who can enforce a ruling using the DPA. The Commissioner may inspect a controller's computers to help in the investigation.

  7. A Right to Compensation

    The data subject is entitled to use the law to get compensation for damage caused ("damages") if personal data about them is inaccurate, lost, or disclosed.

Remember:

  1. These rights only practically exist if you know who has data stored about you.
  2. Some data controllers are exempt from the Act.

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