The Data Protection Act 1998 works in two ways:
- It gives individuals (data subjects) certain rights regarding information held about them.
- It places obligations on those who process information (data controllers). The Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police is a data controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act.
It also requires those who record and use personal information to be open about how the information is used and must follow the eight principles of 'good information handling'. These Principles state that data must be:
- Processed fairly and lawfully
- Processed for limited purposes
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive
- Accurate and up-to-date
- Not kept longer than necessary
- Processed in accordance with the data subject's rights
- Not transferred to countries outside European Economic Area without adequate protection
The Data Protection Act is enforced by the Information Commissioner, an independent supervisory authority reporting directly to Parliament.
For further information on the Information Commissioner and the Data Protection Act, please visit the Information Commissioner’s website.