Feeds

Scottish gov to curb personal data collection

Authorities will have to keep their paws off

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Scottish Government plans to reduce the amount of information on citizens held by large public databases and curb the collection and use of personal data by public authorities.

A consultation on its plans has just begun. The Scottish Government, run by the Scottish National Party in a minority administration, has the backing of the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for its plans.

It has proposed a set of Identity Management and Privacy Principles with which public bodies will have to comply. The principles move the Scottish Government away from the trend of building very large public databases of personal information.

"Organisations should avoid creating large centralised databases of personal information and store personal and transactional data separately," said a statement outlining the plans. "People should only be asked for identity when necessary and they should be asked for as little information as possible."

Pinsent Masons privacy law expert Rosemary Jay was part of the expert group which drafted the proposals. Pinsent Masons is the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM.

"While we do have laws that apply to this information they are sometimes complicated and often there can be different views as to what sort of approach to take," she said. "The different views on the retention of DNA data are an example of this."

"These guidelines are practical, focused and can be applied by public authorities without having to review every legal sub-section," said Jay.

The principles will apply to all public bodies, and any private or voluntary sector organisations which deliver public services, the Scottish Government said.

"These guiding principles are aimed at everyone who is responsible for complying with requirements to protect personal information," said Scottish finance secretary John Swinney. "The principles are important and relevant to a wide range of public sector staff, both those who deal directly with the public and also staff involved in designing and operating systems.

"Public services which store and manage people's identity information must respect the privacy of individuals," he said. "Recent incidents where data has not been treated with due care are regrettable and avoidable. I want the public to feel confident that data is secure and their privacy is safeguarded."

"The ICO welcomes this initiative of the Scottish Government," said Ken Macdonald, Assistant Information Commissioner for Scotland. "At the ICO we urge all public bodies to ensure that data protection is treated as an important part of corporate governance. Safeguarding personal information must be embedded in organisational culture and no public body should be taking risks with Scottish individuals' personal details."

The guidelines stipulate that privacy impact assessments must be carried out in relation to new Scottish Government plans and that any body gathering personal data must explain why they are doing so and how it will be used.

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

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

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.