Data registrar calls for privacy review

Alison Laferlia reports

THE Data Protection Registrar has called for a thorough review of the UK Data Protection Act in the light of a recent EU data protection directive.

The call came in the registrar's annual report, which also touched on the impact of new technologies on privacy.

Presenting the report to Parliament, the registrar, Elizabeth France, called for a thorough review of UK data protection legislation, "not the minimalist implementation of the directive proposed by the Government". She said the directive should be incorporated into UK law.

France said any new legislation should address the impact new technology is likely to make on personal privacy. She cited work by colleagues in Canada and the Netherlands on the potential for protecting identity by using smart cards or special software and said she was keen to promote work on similar privacy-enhancing technologies in the UK.

The registrar also announced that the register is to be put on the Internet in early August as part of a drive to make its information more readily available to the public. Details of the 200,000 businesses presently registered under the Data Protection Act will be found at the Internet site, which will be updated every week.

Information on the register and how to access it will be available on the Data Protection Registrar's home page at: http://www.open.gov.uk/dpr/dprhome.htm.