Data Protection Act - information request


Saw this VERY useful post which, it transpires, could well be of use to me. I need copies of internal emails etc concerning me written by a former employer, and wonder if the first step should be a straightforward request to the Data Controller or similar?



How dare you sir. I don't stink of fish, only a faint whiff of manly seaman, as befits a former member of the Senior Service.

The Data Protection Act can provide endless amusement.

When slapping the Chief Exec with a Subject Access Request, be sure to remind him that you're only resorting to the DPA because his staff ignored your previous correspondence.

Also point out that he needs to provide copies of everything, from council tax records to a copy of your last enviro-crime bin inspection report, not just a copy of the parking ticket data that you originally requested.

Just for good measure, slap a Subject Access Request on the bailiff too.

When you get a computer printout the size of a telephone directory from the council, write back immediately and point out that they have to provide their response in an "intelligible format". Then tell them that you can't understand anything in the printout except your name and address so could they please provide another printout explaining what everything in the first printout means.

Remind them that paper records now fall within the scope of the Act, as well as computer data. Ask them to confirm that they have manually searched every filing cabinet owned by the council for any documentation that refers to you.

Video footage also falls within the scope of the Act. Send them a photo of yourself then tell them to check all the Council's CCTV tapes for footage of you. They'll have a team of blokes sitting in front of tellys for a fortnight.

For the coup de grace, ask them how they back up their computer systems and demand confirmation that they have searched the thousands of backup and archive tapes that they've no doubt got sitting in storage somewhere.

And remember, never hesitate to remind them that they've only got 40 days to provide all of the data or face prosecution. I once had the IT director at Scottish council emailing me until half past eleven at night to meet the deadline. :twisted:

Very helpful, thank you; th implication here is that I can go for the full Subject Access Request straight away?

Yes, you do not even need a reason other than to exercise your right to see what is held about you. If you are looking for specific data, remember to detail what it is you want them to find. Don't forget the £10 'fee'. Remember a good Data Protection Manager will try to buy time by delaying the start of the 40 days, so pre-empt that as advised in the links. Don't give them an excuse to write and ask you a question.

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