Since all member states of the European Union have to respect and apply the same data protection principles, it's always fun to keep an eye on what our close cousins are up to. DutchNews.nl reports that local privacy watchdog College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens (CBP) is seeking to clarify the rules on data protection for companies and public institutions, so that the right of citizens to enjoy their privacy is better safeguarded. Says CBP chairman Jacob Kohnstamm, there is confusion as to what is, and what is not allowed, in terms of data protection because legislation on the topic is too vague.

Since 2007, the CBP has regularly fined companies and organisations that have failed to inform it that they keep files on individuals, the fine for contravening this regulation being €4,500. In June the CBP fined four … Continue Reading ››
What are the circumstances faced by the new Information Commissioner Christopher Graham? What will he make of the legacy of Richard Thomas; and what is he likely to be thinking about his clients in Whitehall, and the chances of a Conservative Government next year?

Rather schematically, under Richard Thomas the ICO developed in two directions. There were the statutory functions under the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts; and there were the organisational stances in these areas over and above what a strict understanding of what these functions amounted to. In both cases we could say that the IC became more than a regulator.

On the data protection side, the IC became more of a Privacy Commissioner on the international model, with an ambition to develop public awareness on big privacy themes. The Surveillance Society debate was the most obvious example of that, and even if you … Continue Reading ››
Construction News has just reported that, following an investigation earlier this year which found that The Consulting Association held details of 3,213 construction workers and traded their personal details for profit, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has served enforcement notices on 14 construction firms. Deputy information commissioner David Smith said:
“Fourteen firms paid for personal details about construction workers without those people knowing. The individuals were denied the opportunity of explaining or correcting what may have been inaccurate personal information about them, and which could have jeopardised their employment prospects in the construction industry.

We have used the maximum powers available to us and this enforcement action sends a strong signal that organisations must take the Data Protection Act seriously. Should the firms fail to adhere to the terms of the Notices they could face prosecution.”
Last month Ian Kerr, on behalf of the … Continue Reading ››
The Department for We Know What's Really in Your Best Interests Even if You Don't has been industrious again, if news from the leafy London suburb of Kingston is anything to go by. In "'Data protection' holding back Kingston bus service for elderly and disabled", David Lindsell (writing for This is Local London) describes how it is data protection which has protracted the struggle to help elderly and disabled users who had been left in difficulties following the closure of the Kingston Enterprise scheme. Kingston Enterprise, a transport scheme operated by Richmond and Kingston Accessible Transport (Rakat), ceased to function when it lost two-thirds of its public funding.

Bob Steed, the member of the Kingston Council who is responsible for transport, has been trying to find a solution to the mobility problems of the elderly and … Continue Reading ››