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Current News Updates

PL&B UK E-news, Issue 38

14 July, 2005
© Privacy Laws & Business 2007

  1. Information Tribunal hears first case – on police data retention
  2. Manchester airport pays compensation by mistake?
  3. Information Commissioner releases annual report and announces new deputy

1. Information Tribunal hears first case – on police data retention

The Information Tribunal is considering whether the Information Commissioner was right to order the deletion of old convictions.
This test case results from an appeal by three police authorities against the preliminary and final enforcement notices which had been issued to them. The records related to three individuals who cannot be named.

The Chief Constables of West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and North Wales told the tribunal that they could not do their job properly in the event of records being deleted from the Police National Computer (PNC).

The Information Commissioner’s Office said that the complainants had been unfairly “prejudiced” by the preservation of the information, which had remained there for between twenty-five and thirty-five years.

The tribunal is considering the issue and should publish its judgment in the coming weeks.

2. Manchester airport pays compensation by mistake?

In one of the few reported examples of payment of compensation for breach of the UK Data Protection Act, Manchester Airport has paid ÂŁ4,000 to a passenger whom it photographed as part of its security procedure.

Manchester Airport did not approach the Information Commissioner for advice regarding the claim. If it had done so, it would have learned that damage is a pre-condition for a claim for “distress” under section 13 (2) (a) of the Data Protection Act 1998.

The ICO was worried that the case could result in a large number of unjustified claims involving UK airports, made under the misapprehension that it involved a breach or breaches of the Data Protection Act.

The ICO spokesperson said the Office had advised the airport on improving procedures.

3. Information Commissioner releases annual report and announces new deputy

The Information Commissioner launched his annual report on 13th July, to the media and a range of key stakeholders.
In his speech, Richard Thomas spoke of a “year of substantial upheaval”, in which the new Freedom of Information Act has increased the size of his office, and the profile of his organization.

He also announced the retirement of his deputy, Francis Aldhouse, who has been with the ICO since its inception in 1985. Assistant Commissioner, David Smith, said that he was “absolutely delighted” to have been invited to step into the role


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