The Data Protection Act gives individuals the right to know what information is held about them.
It provides a framework to ensure that personal information is handled properly.
The Act works in two ways.
Firstly, it states that anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles, which make sure that personal information is:
- Fairly and lawfully processed
- Processed for limited purposes
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive
- Accurate and up to date
- Not kept for longer than is necessary
- Processed in line with your rights
- Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection
The second area covered by the Act provides individuals with important rights, including the right to find out what personal information is held on computer and most paper records.