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Data Protection vs. Freedom of Information

Access and Personal Data

Data Protection vs. Freedom of Information by Paul Ticher
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How would you respond to a freedom of information request, whilst ensuring compliance with the Data Protection Act?

Get clear and practical guidance on this key data governance issue

Freedom of information is often mentioned in the same breath as data protection. In fact, the legal position is more complicated. Whereas data protection is about protecting individuals, freedom of information is about open government. The Data Protection Act is mainly concerned with the confidentiality and security of information, but the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is to encourage the disclosure of information. Nevertheless, the Data Protection Act does permit ‘subject access’, whereby an individual can obtain a copy of the information held about them; it is at this point that the two pieces of legislation overlap.

This authoritative pocket guide is designed to help information professionals, particularly in the public sector, understand the requirements of both Acts together with the ways in which they intersect. The guide looks at the restrictions on disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, including the circumstances in which a request under the Freedom of Information Act must be declined, so as to protect personal data. The pocket guide also considers situations where disclosure of information about individuals under the Freedom of Information Act would not be in breach of the Data Protection Act because of the public interest in such disclosure.

Benefits to data governance professionals include:

  • Find out how the Freedom of Information Act can be reconciled with the Data Protection Act
    The pocket guide sheds light on the question of when data has to be released under the Freedom of Information Act, and when data has to be kept confidential under the Data Protection Act
  • Understand the legal requirements of a request under the Freedom of Information Act
    Public bodies have a duty to help people obtain the information they seek. The pocket guide outlines the correct procedure for a public authority to follow when responding to a written request for information.
  • Find out what is meant by ‘personal data’
    Under the Data Protection Act, personal data is exempt from disclosure if such disclosure would result in a breach of any of the data protection principles. The pocket guide offers an expert definition of personal data for purposes of the Act.
  • Understand the legal requirements of a subject access request under the Data Protection Act
    Under the Data Protection Act, the subject of the data has the right to see the information held about them. The pocket guide explains the correct procedure for handling a subject access request.

Find out how data protection and freedom of information fit together.

IT Governance Ltd; November 2008
67 pages; ISBN 9781905356737
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Data Protection vs. Freedom of Information
Author: Paul Ticher
 
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ISBNs
1905356730
9781849281638
9781905356720
9781905356737