PL&B UK E-news, Issue 47

1. Consultation on heavier DPA penalties

The Government is currently consulting on whether there would be support for two years imprisonment for certain data protection offences. The proposals would amend the Data Protection Act to allow for custodial sanctions for those convicted of offences under section 55 of the Act – the unlawful buying and selling of data. The penalties would also apply to anyone who hires others to fraudulently collect information.

The consultation is aimed at the general public and relevant organisations, and ends on 30th October 2006.

To help you to put your views to the Government, PL&B is organising a half-day consultation meeting on Friday 29th September. Paul Boyle, Head of Policy, Information Rights Division, Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) will outline the proposals at the start of the morning and answer questions, and then leave us to discuss our response privately. PL&B will then prepare a memo to the Department for Constitutional Affairs with any recommendations which are made at the meeting. Click here for further information on this meeting.

See the consultation document.

2. MPs want to delay ID cards

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has told the Government to delay the introduction of ID cards due to insufficient trials on biometric technology, and unscientific practices when collecting evidence in support of these technologies. The Committee’s report, published on 4th August, suggests that whilst biometric technology is an important part of the ID card scheme, it must not detract from other aspects of the programme, in particular ICT. “In view of the potential adverse impact on large numbers of people, it is better that the scheme is late and workable than on time but flawed," the Committee says.

The Committee also recommends that the Home Office releases more information regarding which personal data will be revealed in different scenarios, including in an online context. “Until this information is released, it is difficult to ascertain the true scope of the scheme and to fully understand how technology will be used within the scheme,” the Committee says. The Home Office is also asked to consult more widely on the ID cards scheme.

3. ICO publishes Annual Report

The Information Commissioner published his Annual Report on 12th July 2006. The ICO prosecuted 16 cases involving offences under the Data Protection Act in 2005-2006, and received more than 22,000 complaints. A breach appeared to be involved in 7% of the cases.

For further details on the Privacy Laws & Business UK Newsletter, please click here.

Copyright Privacy Laws & Business 2006