03 March 2009

Defend the Data Protection Act

One of the most important and earliest pieces of legislation concerning digital information is the Data Protection Act (DPA). Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, currently before Parliament, would effectively nullify the DPA, since it would allow Ministers to use information gathered for one purpose for another – one of the things the DPA is there to prevent.

I therefore urge you to use the WriteToThem service to contact your MP, asking them to vote against the measure. Here's what I've sent:

I would like to express my concern about Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill. As you know, this would enable any Minister by order to be able to take any information gathered for one purpose - across the public and private sector - and use it for any other purpose. This would effectively nullify the Data Protection Act (DPA) – one of the key pieces of legislation for the digital age – and leave British citizens quite defenceless in this important sphere.

Not only would this be bad in itself, it would be done in a way that undermines Parliament: Ministers would be able to ignore the DPA for any purpose whenever it suited them, without any need to return to Parliament to have the move scrutinised.

I am writing to you to ask you to vote against this pernicious move. Moreover, please know that if the Clause is passed, I refuse to give my consent to the arbitrary sharing of my information under any ‘Information Sharing Order’.

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