Enforced subject access to be made illegal

Simon Hughes, Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties, and a Liberal Democrat MP, said that the government will this year put an end to the practice of enforced subject access. The government will commence reforms to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 which will allow for section 56 of the Data Protection Act 1998 to commence fully.

In a speech given at the ICO's Data Protection Practitioner Conference yesterday in Manchester, Hughes said: ‘This will prohibit a person from requiring someone else to produce certain records as a condition of employment, or for providing a service, other than where the relevant record is required by law or where it is justified in the public interest.’

‘We are also committed to guaranteeing that the ICO has sufficient powers to enforce compliance amongst organisations and to punish those who commit serious breaches of the Data Protection Act… We are positively considering a proposal by the Information Commissioner to lower the threshold at which he can issue civil monetary penalties for breaches of PECR from the very high bar of proving substantial damage and distress to a lower bar of irritation and nuisance.’

Hughes also said that he hoped to persuade his colleagues this year of the importance of custodial sentences for Data Protection Act offences.

The March issue of PL&B United Kingdom Report will include an analysis of the changes in law to stop enforced subject access and what this means for organisations. 

Subscribers to the Privacy Laws & Business UK Report you can now access the pre-publication version of the following article:

Christopher Graham asks for more transparency and stronger powers
PECR changes, custodial penalty and compulsory NHS audits are on the cards. By Laura Linkomies.

The final version of this article will appear in Issue 72 to be published later this month.