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Notes > Professional Practice > Data Protection

"Data" itself does not have any meaning. "Information" is data that has been interpreted so that it has meaning. If you apply a context to the information, this represents knowledge. Based on knowledge, conclusions can be derived. Decision Systems are used in business to aid in the decision making process by using this knowledge to forecast future trends.

Most of us carry around many items of data that relate to us. If used in the right context by another individual, these pieces of data can be used to effectively "steal" our identity. Legislation has been introduced to attempt to attack this type of criminal activity.

Data Protection Act (1984)

This is designed to protect individuals against:

  • The use of personal information that is inaccurate, incomplete or irrelevant
  • Unauthorised access to personal information
  • The use of personal information for matters unrelated to the original reason for collection

Data Protection Act (1998)

This applies to both manually and automatically processed data provided their being contained within a filing system. It states that consent is required before data is processed. Click Here to read the full Data Protection Act. The following guidelines are general rules that should be respected when dealing with data.

Data should be:

  • Fairly and lawfully processed
  • Processed for limited, specific purposes
  • Accurate and up-to-date
  • Adequate and relevant
  • Kept only for as long as necessary
  • Stored in a secure manner

Freedom of Information Act (2000)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) enables people to rightfully request information from public authorities. The Freedom of Information Act aims to promote openness among public sector entities, giving the public a better understanding of how public authorities operate and deal with information.

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