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Personal Data

Volume 449: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

My noble Friend, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, has made the following written ministerial statement:

“I have today published a consultation paper on proposed custodial penalties for breaches of section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. In an environment where concerns about identity fraud are growing and where the widespread use and exchange of data is increasingly important to the economy and to society as a whole, it is essential for people to be confident their personal data will not be willfully or recklessly abused. We are determined that the regulatory regime properly reflects the risks that come with greater data use. The aim of this proposal is to provide an appropriate and effective level of deterrent for those who seek to profit from the illegal trade in personal information. We welcome the recent report by the Information Commissioner ‘What price privacy? The unlawful trade in confidential personal information' which has been an extremely valuable contribution on this issue, and we are responding positively to the report's recommendations. We are seeking views on whether the proposed sanctions would act as an effective deterrent to those who deliberately or recklessly misuse personal information. Copies have been placed in the Printed Paper Office, Vote Office and Libraries of both Houses.”