Feeds

Scottish gov to curb personal data collection

Authorities will have to keep their paws off

High performance access to file storage

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.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
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.