Explanation and Principles of Data Protection

What is Data Protection?

The term Data protection stands for the relationship between the collection and promulgation of data, technology, public expectation of privacy, legal and political issues surrounding them. The challenge of data protection is to use data while protecting the privacy preferences and traceable information of an individual. 

A big concern especially for computer users!

With so much increase in the use of information technology, risk of identity thefts, hacking ruining to personal as well as business life has also evolved to a great level. Keeping our data – passwords, credit card numbers, etc. protected has become really significant. 

This answers the query of what Data Protection actually is – a process of preserving crucial information from frauds, compromises or any loss. As the data creation and storage process keeps on growing at bizarre rates, the usefulness of Data protection also increases. 

Data Protection Act

Are you familiar with DPA? Not really, in fact, many of us don’t!

The Data Protection Act 1998 was a United Kingdom act of Parliament designed to protect personal data stored on computers or in an organized paper filling system. Under this act, an individual has the legal right to control their information. Anyone holding personal data for other purposes was legally compelled to submit with this act, subjected to some exceptions. The act has defined eight principles to ensure that the information has been processed legitimately. It was further outmoded by the Data Protection Act 2018. 

Data Protection Laws

What is the role of data protection laws? It constrains the disclosure or misuse of information about private individuals. Many of the countries have already adopted extensive data protection laws. 

These laws are based on Fair Information Practice developed by the United States back in the 1970s. 

What is the importance of data privacy for business? 

If you are a business owner, data protection not only becomes more important, instead it becomes absolutely vital, particularly if your business deals in sensitive codes and formula that other people should not get their hands on or if you have a customer or client records, financial information or any sensitive information that you don’t want to be disclosed. 

The initial step to achieve this is investing in some excellent data privacy services. Most basic data package services offer remote backup service which means you can keep copies of your important files or folders on a server to protect it in case of any damage. When choosing a data protection plan, make sure that the package you pick offers heavy-duty encryption.

Principles of Data Protection   

The basic data protection principles in laymen’s terms and detail instances where required action should be taken are explained here in detail. 

  • The information must be processed fairly and lawfully

The first principle of the Data Protection Act states that any personal data collected by an organization must be used fairly and lawfully. In order to do this, a collected company must receive consent from the data owner. 

In simple words, be upfront and honest. To be seen as acting fairly, a collecting company must be transparent and gain permission. 

  • Information collection must be processed for limited purposes

The second data protection principle states that any information collected must only be used for limited purposes, in other words, only using the data for reasons originally agreed. Data must not be processed in any manner incompatible with its original purpose. 

Don’t take the collected original data to use for new purposes without permission.

  • The collected information must be adequate and relevant

The information collected must be fair and not excessive. This simply means that only the minimum amount of data needed to complete a pre-defined task should be collected. An organization should not ask for or hold any additional data of outside concern. 

Don’t be greedy and collected only presently required data, but not for the future. 

  • The collected information must be factual

Companies must ensure that the collected information is accurate. If it is inaccurate, it can result in misrepresentation on behalf of the customer. Just ensure that your data is true.

If in case, any suspicion exists about the inaccuracy of information, do check with the individual concerned. 

  • The information must not be held for longer than is necessary

The fifth principle states that a company must not hold information about an individual for longer than is absolutely necessary. Suppose a company was to keep a former client’s details on fore for an extended period of time after their original contract has terminated. 

There is a detailed FSA regulation on the responsibility of financial firms for holding certain data. Only keep hold of files that you really need. 

  • The information must be processed in accordance with individual rights

It states that the information must be processed in accordance with the individual’s rights. Data controllers should be able to present any individual with a copy of the data they hold about them. 

 Simply, give the individual access! It is their data you are holding, they should have a say in how it is used. 

  • The information must be kept secure 

 The information must be kept secure, states the seventh principle. If an organization is holding data that relates to an individual or another company, it is their duty to keep it confidential. 

Lost or exposed data can cause distress to the individuals involved. It can also result in negative publicity for the responsible firm. Don’t be careless!

  • Information should not be transferred outside the European Economic Area

Information should not be transferred outside EEA unless appropriate levels of protection exist. This means that any data relating to third parties must not be stored overseas unless adequate safe harboring laws exist in the country it is being transferred to.

Keep your customers informed! Don’t store their data overseas without first gaining their specific permit.

The importance of data protection in any field, either business or personal, is considered by ensuring that you or your company is backed up consistently and protected from theft or loss.

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