The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 apply in the UK and work together to govern the processing of personal data. They place duties on organisations on how they collect, process, store and disclose information about people. It also gives individuals (data subjects) the right of access to information held about themselves.
The legislation has core principles which must be adopted when handling personal data.
Personal data must be:
- a.processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject (‘lawfulness, fairness and transparency’);
- collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes (‘purpose limitation’);
- adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed (‘data minimisation’);
- accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay (‘accuracy’);
- kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed (‘storage limitation’);
- processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures (‘integrity and confidentiality’).
Terms and definitions
The DPA contains a number of terms. The key ones are defined below.
‘personal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person;
Special category data
Special category data is personal data relating to:
- racial or ethnic origin
- political opinions
- religious or philosophical beliefs
- trade union membership
- genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person
- data concerning health
- data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation
We are required to take extra care with special category data.
Criminal data in not considered special category data under the legislation, but it is to be treated with the same extra care as special category data and only processed where we have a legal right to do so.
An individual who is the subject of the personal data.
The person or organisation that determines what personal data is used for and how it is processed. The council is a data controller.
A person or organisation which processes personal data on behalf of the data controller but does not decide how the data is used.
Processing includes all actions in relation to personal data such as collecting, recording, holding, organising, adapting, altering, retrieving, consulting, using, disclosing, storing, erasing, destroying, blocking and disseminating.