Feeds

Bosses to be banned from forcing new hires to pull personal records

ICO warns employers on subject access requests

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Forthcoming changes to the law will prevent employers, insurers and other organisations from forcing individuals to access personal data held about them by others and reveal the results to the party requesting that information, the data protection watchdog has warned.19 Feb 2014

Changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, governing the criminal records checking regime, will come into force on 10 March 2014. In a blog post on the website of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the ICO's Jonathan Bamford said that this change cleared the way for the criminalisation of enforced subject access requests under section 56 of the Data Protection Act (DPA).

"This is welcome news," Bamford said in his blog post. "Enforced subject access will be a criminal offence at long last and we will have the tools to help deal with the problem. We will be working to ensure that those who are involved in this unsavoury practice are aware they will be committing criminal offences and we will be preparing ourselves ready to prosecute those who are involved in the practice."

The changes due to come into force from 10 March will shorten the 'rehabilitation periods' for the majority of criminal convictions in England and Wales, meaning that they will be considered 'spent' sooner and need no longer be disclosed for most purposes. Fuller disclosure of cautions and convictions will continue to apply to certain 'sensitive' occupations and activities, while the most serious convictions will remain subject to disclosure for any job.

In a written ministerial statement Jeremy Wright, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, said that section 56 of the DPA would come into force "shortly after" the changes to the rehabilitation regime began.. Section 56 makes it a criminal offence to require a person to make a subject access request and reveal the result It is the only provision in the DPA which has not yet come into force.

In his blog post, Bamford noted that although enforced subject access requests were typically used to force potential employees to reveal criminal conviction data, the practice had "persisted and spread". Although the ICO had "enjoyed some limited success" in dissuading organisations from using it, the watchdog was now seeing it being used by "organisations as diverse as insurers when dealing with claims and TV production companies when selecting participants for their programmes".

"It is not only a clear perversion of an individual's own rights, with consequences like unwarranted loss of employment opportunities, it also [undermines] important public polices such as the rehabilitation of offenders," Bamford said. "The information provided in a policy subject access response, for instance, is potentially far greater than an individual would ever have to declare to a prospective employer, and would include convictions considered 'spent' under the Rehabilitation of Offences Act."

Copyright © 2014, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'
Scrutiny committee bods probe derailed database project
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves
Big Content could get the right to order ISPs to stop traffic
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.