Privacy watchdog publishes plain English data protection guide

Out-Law News | 30 Nov 2009 | 5:32 pm |

Privacy and data protection regulator the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published a plain English guide to data protection law. The guide is intended to help non-experts to navigate the Data Protection Act.

The guide includes a collection of 'data protection myths' which people commonly believe but have no basis in law. These include the theory that you are not allowed to take photographs at school plays and that a nine-day-old baby must sign for its own parcel. Both are, the ICO says, untrue.

"Sometimes organisations misinterpret the Act or hide behind it. Misunderstandings do occur and the ICO is aware of a number of data protection myths and duck outs," said an ICO statement.

“Small businesses do not have time for pages and pages of jargon and gobbledegook, but getting data protection right makes good business sense," said Stephen Alambritis, head of public affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). "Data protection lapses cost reputations and can affect the bottom line. But, many organisations tell us that data protection law is difficult to understand. This new no-nonsense guide will help the business community to understand and comply with the law.”