PL&B UK E-news, Issue 69

1. Data sharing consultation: responses sought by 15th February

If you have a view on how information should be shared between organisations in the private and public sectors, you may wish to respond to the data sharing consultation, which is part of the independent Data Sharing Review, commissioned in October 2007 by the Prime Minister, and conducted by Richard Thomas and Dr Mark Walport.

The consultation seeks responses to questions such as:

  • Whether the Data Protection Act is working well regarding data sharing
  • Whether any part of the legal framework places an unreasonable burden on business
  • Whether there are areas where the sharing of personal information between two or more bodies would be beneficial, but is not currently taking place
  • Which are the areas where data sharing currently takes place, but should not?
  • What are the barriers to the sharing of personal information, and how can these barriers be overcome

Responses are sought by 15.2.2008.  

2. ‘Proportionality’ can be relevant to data searches, High Court says

A recent High Court judgement in the case of Ezsias v Welsh Ministers says that the defendant was justified in limiting the scope of searching for personal data when responding to a subject access request.

The court said that in this case, which involved several subject access requests and a high volume of data, it would not have been reasonable for the organisation to conduct any further searches.

Previous guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office suggests that proportionality is a relevant factor only in terms of providing copies of the documents.

The case relates to Mr Ezsias’ subject access requests following his dismissal from the North Glamorgan NHS Trust, where he had worked as a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He complained to the Employment Tribunal on the ground that he had been dismissed because he was a “whistleblower”, and thereafter took his case to The National Assembly (Welsh Ministers).

The judgement was given on 23 November 2007. PL&B UK Newsletter will report more on this topic in a future issue.

3. Privacy survey seeks your views

How are privacy professionals valued in their organisations in the UK?

How well is your organisation prepared for a loss of personal data?

What do you think of the proposed new compulsory audit powers in the public sector for the Information Commissioner? Should they be extended to the private sector? Should there be a criminal offence for major data security breaches?

And how are you, as a Privacy professional, valued in comparison to others doing similar work in your sector?

The results will give you, and the wider privacy community in the UK, an idea of how Privacy is regarded within the UK and how privacy professionals are valued within their organisations in terms of resources and remuneration, as well as the scope of their work. Obviously the more responses we get, the more valuable the overall report will be.

We intend to run this survey on an annual basis. A copy of the survey report will be sent to all those who participate, and a summary will be posted on our website.

Click here to take the survey

4. PL&B Annual Conference: call for speakers

The Privacy Laws & Business 21st Annual International data protection conference takes place in Cambridge 7-9th July 2008. If you would like to propose a topic, or speak at the conference, please get in touch now with Stewart Dresner,, Tel: + 44 (0) 20 8868 9200.

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

Copyright Privacy Laws & Business 2008