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Data Protection Act 1998

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1 Basic interpretative provisions.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

  • data” means information which—

    (a)

    is being processed by means of equipment operating automatically in response to instructions given for that purpose,

    (b)

    is recorded with the intention that it should be processed by means of such equipment,

    (c)

    is recorded as part of a relevant filing system or with the intention that it should form part of a relevant filing system, or

    (d)

    does not fall within paragraph (a), (b) or (c) but forms part of an accessible record as defined by section 68;

  • data controller” means, subject to subsection (4), a person who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are, or are to be, processed;

  • data processor”, in relation to personal data, means any person (other than an employee of the data controller) who processes the data on behalf of the data controller;

  • data subject” means an individual who is the subject of personal data;

  • personal data” means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified—

    (a)

    from those data, or

    (b)

    from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller,

    and includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual;

  • processing”, in relation to information or data, means obtaining, recording or holding the information or data or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the information or data, including—

    (a)

    organisation, adaptation or alteration of the information or data,

    (b)

    retrieval, consultation or use of the information or data,

    (c)

    disclosure of the information or data by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, or

    (d)

    alignment, combination, blocking, erasure or destruction of the information or data;

  • relevant filing system” means any set of information relating to individuals to the extent that, although the information is not processed by means of equipment operating automatically in response to instructions given for that purpose, the set is structured, either by reference to individuals or by reference to criteria relating to individuals, in such a way that specific information relating to a particular individual is readily accessible.

(2)In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

(a)obtaining” or “recording”, in relation to personal data, includes obtaining or recording the information to be contained in the data, and

(b)using” or “disclosing”, in relation to personal data, includes using or disclosing the information contained in the data.

(3)In determining for the purposes of this Act whether any information is recorded with the intention—

(a)that it should be processed by means of equipment operating automatically in response to instructions given for that purpose, or

(b)that it should form part of a relevant filing system,

it is immaterial that it is intended to be so processed or to form part of such a system only after being transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area.

(4)Where personal data are processed only for purposes for which they are required by or under any enactment to be processed, the person on whom the obligation to process the data is imposed by or under that enactment is for the purposes of this Act the data controller.

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