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Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act 1998 gives all individuals a general right of access to the personal data which is held about them either on computer, or in a relevant manual filing system. These rights are known as 'subject access rights'.

The Act requires that we comply with the rules of good information handling practice which are commonly known as the eight data protection principles. Find out more about the data protection principles.

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
  • Secure
  • 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. These rights are known as 'subject access rights'.

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