Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

From very early on in life data is collected about us from all sorts of organisations and bodies. Information is collected about us from:

  • Airlines; Banks
  • Car repairers
  • Schools
  • Doctors
  • Clubs and associations
  • Credit card providers
  • Dentists
  • Estate agents
  • Gas and electric companies
  • Hospitals
  • Inland revenue
  • Insurance companies
  • Employers
  • Supermarkets and many, many other organisations.

You probably regard much of the information held about you as highly confidential, for example, you would not want an organisation releasing your financial or medical information without your consent. But it is not just this information that needs to be controlled if a company passes on just your contact details you could be plagued by unwanted telesales.

Therefore, it is highly important that personal data is controlled and regulated.   The Data Protection Act establishes a framework of rights and duties which are designed to safeguard the way in which organisations collect and use this personal data for business and other purposes and to balance these requirements against the rights of individuals to have respect for the privacy of their personal details. It ensures that your personal information is not released or shared with other third parties without your prior consent.

Data under the Data Protection Act is information that is collected and held or intended to be held on a computer. It also includes information that is recorded on paper that is intended to be put onto a computer and personal data relating to an individual, which is held in a paper format in a systematic structured way. For example as part of a filing system. It is information on a person that forms part of an accessible record. This includes health records, educational, school records, local authority housing records and local authority social services records.

There are 2 types of data covered under the ACT. Personal data and Sensitive data.

Personal data is broadly information that is gathered in respect of a living person from which that person can be identified.  It is important to note that where the ability to identify an individual from that data relies on both the data gathered and partly on other information supplied, the data held will still be classed as personal data.  Personal data also includes opinions about the person or what is intended for them. For example, if it is intended that an employee should complete a further probationary period, this information is classed as personal data and is covered under the act.

Sensitive data is personal data that contains information, amongst other things, with regard to their racial or ethnic origin:

  • Religious beliefs or their beliefs of a similar nature
  • Political opinions
  • Whether they are a member of a trade union
  • His or her physical or mental health or condition
  • His or her sexual life.

If personal data is classed as sensitive data there is an increased legal protection of this data enforced under the act. We will talk through these obligations later in the course.