The Leveson Report: Data protection proposals will have a significant impact on journalism and the enforcement of data protection law

There has been much debate since the publication of Lord Leveson’s Report on the culture, practices and ethics of the press as to the role of a future regulatory framework governing its activities. In particular, there has been significant comment on Lord Leveson’s recommendation that this new framework should have statutory underpinning.

There has been far less discussion on the recommendations Lord Leveson makes to extend data protection regulation. This is despite the significant impact these proposals will have on journalistic activity and on how data protection law is enforced against the press.

In particular, the proposed data protection changes would erode the exemptions in the Data Protection Act 1998, (the DPA) available for investigative newsgathering by journalists, extend the scope of statutory intervention over the press by the Information Commissioner (IC) and lead to changes to the powers, structure, function and duties of the Information Commissioner’s office (ICO) relevant to the press…

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