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Data Protection

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the terms of reference are of the review into the way that personal information is shared between and protected by the public and private sector. (176523)

The terms of reference for the independent data sharing review being led by Richard Thomas and Dr. Mark Walport are:

The review will consider whether there should be any changes to the way the Data Protection Act 1998 operates in the UK and the options for implementing any such changes. It will include recommendations on the powers and sanctions available to the regulator and courts in the legislation governing data sharing and data protection. It will also make recommendations on how data sharing policy should be developed in a way that ensures proper transparency, scrutiny and accountability. To inform its recommendations, the review panel will consult with:

(a) the devolved Administrations

(b) the European Commission

(c) the academic and legal community and the media

(d) representatives of the IT community and the private sector

(e) a representative sample of Government departments and agencies with an interest in data sharing and privacy

(f) other parties identified by the review team

The recommendations will seek to take account of technological advances and strike a balance that ensures appropriate privacy and other safeguards for individuals and society, while enabling sharing information to protect the public, increasing transparency, enhancing public service delivery as well as taking into account the need to minimise the burden on business.