MPs and Data Protection Offences, part etc etc

In which I bore again by banging on about the ICO’s apparent non-action against MPs who might be committing Data Protection offences

I’ve blogged on this before. To recap: MPs have the same obligations as any other data controller under section 17 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of their processing of personal data. Most do so, some appear not to. Processing personal data without a notification or a suitable exemption constitutes a criminal offence under section 18 of the DPA.

In my previous posts I’ve question why the ICO appears to take a lenient approach to MPs’ legal obligations. Maybe I’ve made more of it than I should, and I’m pleased to see that the majority I named in my second post on the subject have now put things right.

However, two of the names in that previous list continue not to have an entry on the ICO register. There may be a reason for this (the list may not, for instance, have been updated) but it suggests that Jim Shannon MP has processed personal data without an appropriate registration since his last notification expired on 29 November 2010 and Pat Doherty MP has similarly processed personal data since 20 January 2011.

It’s not as though the ICO never prosecutes for this offence. He announced on twitter today that there had been a successful prosecution of two spamming scumbags owners of a marketing company for non-notification (both received £2000 fines). While reading this, I noticed that there had also been, on 28 November, a successful prosecution (she pleaded guilty) of a barrister for the same offence. For reasons of mitigating circumstances she received an absolute discharge. However, the ICO reports that

the magistrate warned that those whose profession is to prosecute people for failing to comply with the law must meet their legal obligations

If this magistrate can warn lawyers to observe their legal obligations, because they (act for those who) prosecute offences, where is the warning from the prosecutor to those who actually make the laws?

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1 Comment

Filed under Data Protection, Information Commissioner

One response to “MPs and Data Protection Offences, part etc etc

  1. Pingback: Information Rights and Wrongs Alternative Honours List | inforightsandwrongs

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