Courts failing to protect privacy

A journalist who came on one of my courses has been in touch to tell me about a freedom of informaton success.

Rupert White from the Law Gazette battled many months of delay and obstruction from the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Courts Service while trying to find out what protections, if any, were in place to ensure that personal information is properly kept in line with the Data Protection Act. Particularly he wanted to know if the departments had ever conducted audits on the personal data kept to check its accuracy and that it was in complaince with the law.

He discovered that in the six years since the privacy law was passed, neither the DCA, the CPS nor the Courts Service has ever done a full audit so they have no idea whether the personal information they hold is correct or in accordance with the law.

This is a serious breach of people’s privacy. As Rupert writes: “The CPS’s case management system holds sensitive information on people being prosecuted, the Courts Service holds records of court cases in progress, and the DCA holds a vast amount of information on workers and the public.” There is much scope for error in these records and without audits, there is nothing to stop inaccurate information finding its way onto the databasese or even the wrong people.

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