Feeds

Outsourced data must be protected, says privacy chief

Companies liable for third party breaches

High performance access to file storage

Companies are still liable for data protection breaches that happen on third party premises thousands of miles away, the Information Commissioner has warned.

With more and more firms outsourcing data-intensive processes such as call centre activity, companies must be aware of their responsibilities, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said. Any breach of security at a contractor's site will be the responsibility of the original company.

"The [Data Protection] Act requires you to take appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect the personal information you process whether you process it yourself or whether someone else does it for you," said an ICO statement.

Outsourcing data processing to foreign suppliers does not absolve firms from protecting the data once it passes to a third party. In fact, new guidance issued by the ICO seems to tighten up rules concerning a company's responsibilities to find an outsourcer who will safeguard the data.

"The new guidance clarifies the old guidance which stated that in the case of a data controller to data processor transfer the 'data controller might reasonably conclude that adequacy exists without carrying out a detailed adequacy test'. This could be interpreted as saying a complete assessment of adequacy is not needed," said Dr Chris Pounder, consultant and editor of data protection and privacy practice at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM.

"By contrast, the new guidance states that such an adequacy test is needed, but this can be incorporated into a data processor contract and into the risk assessment which is required under the Seventh Data Protection Principle which deals with the security of personal data," said Pounder. "It is interesting to note that the commissioner refers to ISO 17799 in this regard."

"More and more companies are contracting out their data processing abroad. The rules governing the transfer of personal information overseas are therefore becoming increasingly important," deputy Information Commissioner David Smith said.

"A UK-based business outsourcing a call centre or other aspect of its data processing abroad remains legally liable for any failings. It could face legal action by the Information Commissioner's Office and by an individual even if a breach takes place outside the UK."

"We will not hesitate to investigate and, if necessary, take action in any instances where companies are clearly breaching the principles of good information handling," said Smith.

The new guidance relates to the eighth data protection principle in the Act, which governs personal information transferred outside the European Economic Area.

See:

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.