Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Seminar 4 Position Statement: Dr Simon Rice, Information Commissioner’s Office
By Dr Simon Rice
Group Manager (Technology)
Being transparent about how you process personal data is a legal requirement under the Data Protection Act 1998. The processing of personal data must be fair and fairness generally requires you to be transparent. If you are asking for an individual’s consent then providing clear and comprehensive information is also a fundamental part of ensuring that the consent is valid.
Transparency is important when individuals have a choice about whether they wish for their personal data to be processed in a particular manner but also in situations where that choice may be limited.
The ICO is also the regulator of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 each of which require public sector organisations to make certain information available either proactively or on request (unless a valid exemption exists).
Whilst these laws give individuals strong opportunities to obtain information this doesn’t lessen the need (or legal requirement) for organisations to proactively informand educate about their data processing activities especially when these impact on the individual’s private life.