The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is urging organisations not to hide behind the Data Protection Act in order to avoid compliance with data requests from individuals. This call was made during Stupid Aid Week (1-5 September), which highlighted various widely-held myths such as the belief by some organisations that data protection stops them giving out any personal information, or prevents them from dealing with certain types of enquiries.

A guide called "Overcome stupidity in the world around you", launched during Stupid Aid Week by the Flexible Thinking Forum, listed various data protection "duck outs". These included parents not being allowed to take photos of their child at a nativity play, teachers unable to promote the successes of pupils in the local media, and priests prevented from praying for an ill person by name during mass.

David Smith, deputy commissioner at the Information Commissioner's Office, said:
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Stephanie Bodoni (Bloomberg) reports that EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot has welcomed Google Inc.'s decision to halve the time it stores information on users' search records. He describes this as "a step toward complying with EU privacy and data protection laws". Google said this week it will keep data for nine months, instead of the minimum 18-month period it introduced last year. Both US and European law and policy makers have argued that search engines keep too much personal data for too long and with little oversight of how they use them. The EU target for retained personal data remains six months.
The second edition of E-Privacy and Online Data Protection, with text by Susan Singleton (Singletons) and precedents by Eduardo Ustaran, is billed as a Tottel Special Report, which probably accounts for its steep price. The publisher is clearly aiming it at the in-house market when it proclaims:
"For less than the price of an hour's consultancy, you'll have all the targeted information it contains at your fingertips, ready for immediate use as and when issues arise. You won't just be saving time - by doing away with the need for costly external advice, you'll be saving precious resources for your company too".
The blurb continues:
"E-Privacy and Online Data Protection is the essential tool for in-house lawyers working in companies that trade electronically and handle information relating to individuals. With its authoritative and easy-to-follow explanations this report will give you all the information you need … Continue Reading ››
This weblog is dedicated to the ups and downs and data protection law and practice. Its authors are all enthusiasts in the field, who believe that a better understanding to the issues relating to personal data as a legal contruct, a moral concept and a commercial and regulatory phenomenon will contribute to better decision-making by governments, businesses and individuals alike.

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