A forum for dispute? The Data Protection Act can apply to corporate social networking

The Data Protection Act (DPA) contains an exemption for personal data that is processed by an individual for the purposes of his or her personal affairs. This is often referred to as the ‘domestic purposes’ exemption. It will apply whenever an individual is using an online forum purely for personal purposes. However, it does not cover organisational use of online forums and social media — they are therefore subject to the DPA in the normal way.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued guidance on this, explaining that when personal data is put on a business social networking site, message board or blog, the organisation takes on responsibilities as a ‘data controller’ under the DPA. As mentioned in relation to the Gayle case, the ICO’s guidance has no legal effect and it is open to organisations to show compliance with the DPA in other ways. However, it is self-evident that documented compliance with the guidance will help in the event of a complaint…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Hogan Lovells briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Hogan Lovells

View more briefings from Hogan Lovells

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer


Atlantic House
Holborn Viaduct

Turnover (£m): 1,098.00
No. of lawyers: 2,313 (UK 200)
Jurisdiction: UK
No. of offices: 8
No. of qualified lawyers: 219 (International 50)
No. of partners: 56