Skip to main content

Data Protection

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the evidence submitted by the Information Commissioner’s Office to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in its inquiry into self-regulation of the press, which journalists received data supplied by Hampshire-based private investigators under Operations Glade and Motorman. (289726)

In 2006, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) carried out an investigation into data protection offences under Operation Motorman. This investigation led to a further investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service under Operation Glade.

The ICO published two special reports to Parliament, ‘What Price Privacy?’ and ‘What Price Privacy Now?’, which relate to these investigations but did not name the journalists involved. Under Section 59 of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998, the Information Commissioner is generally prohibited from disclosing information obtained by him under the provisions of the DPA which relates to an identifiable individual or business and has not previously been made publicly available, for example, names of journalists or the organisations they work for.

This information has been supplied by the ICO.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had with the Information Commissioner on the outcomes of Operation Motorman and related investigations and its findings relating to data illegally obtained from British Telecom, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the Police National Computer; and if he will make a statement. (289729)

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) presented two special reports to Parliament in 2006 about the illegal trade in personal information.

Although there have been no recent discussions between the Secretary of State for Justice and the Information Commissioner on this subject, the Ministry of Justice and the ICO work closely together to ensure that all data controllers understand their obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998.

The Government are currently considering whether now is the appropriate time to consult on introducing custodial sentences for the knowing or reckless misuse of personal data.