Feeds

Scottish gov to curb personal data collection

Authorities will have to keep their paws off

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.