Data protection redress in the UK

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Presentation of UK research for EU Fundamental Rights Agency comprehensive study of data protection redress mechanisms

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Data protection redress in the UK

  1. 1. DP redress in the UKDr Ian Brown, University of OxfordUK social science expert for FRA ThematicArea H: Human Rights Issues Relating tothe Information Society
  2. 2. Drivers and mechanisms Most frequent violations: disclosure of personal data to unauthorised persons and the refusal of access to personal data held by the police, medical services, social services, employers and others In the great majority of cases the damage caused was emotional distress Mechanisms used: claim in the ordinary courts; taking a complaint to ICO; appealing against a decision of ICO to the Information Rights Tribunal
  3. 3. Barriers to redress Lack of awareness and understanding of complex law (little jurisprudence) Limited compensation – only by courts, normally for pecuniary loss, not distress Courts unsympathetic – interpret narrowly, award nominal damages, prioritise FoE Lack of judicial expertise in lower courts – no specialisation, few cases Cost of litigation – no legal aid, cost orders ICO prefers informal approach, individual cases rarely lead to enforcement
  4. 4. Possible improvements DPA should be made easier to understand, with distress compensated Judges should be trained in DP law ICO should publish its ‘compliance likely/unlikely’ assessments in DPA cases Legal aid should be granted in DPA cases ICO should have resources for test cases Provision for collective redress
  5. 5. Good practices Valuable ICO remedy for data subjects Strong ICO educational role for data controllers about their obligations, and public about data protection law Civil society assistance to data subjects in using redress mechanisms Central and local government ‘one stop’ procedures for complaints
  6. 6. Good practices Valuable ICO remedy for data subjects Strong ICO educational role for data controllers about their obligations, and public about data protection law Civil society assistance to data subjects in using redress mechanisms Central and local government ‘one stop’ procedures for complaints

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