The ICO has issued a new code of practice for the collection of personal information online:
Christopher Graham Information Commissioner in the opening words to the code says:
“The online world is expanding and developing all the time. Change is a given. And the pace of change is a challenge. New technologies and services are transforming the way we do business. The accelerating take-up of social networking, growing dependence on the internet to conduct business, whether personal or professional. The internet can offer greater convenience and new experiences, but it can also present risks. A record of our online activity can reveal our most personal interests. This is as true of major electronic service providers as it is of small online businesses. This code explains the privacy risks that may arise and suggests ways for organisations to deal with them. It stresses the importance of transparency, of treating consumers’ information properly and being straight with people about how you use their information. This applies just as much in the public sector as it does in the private.
As regulator of the Data Protection Act I recognise the need for clear, comprehensive guidance for handling personal data properly and for giving individuals the right degree of choice and control. I encourage the industry to continue to develop simpler, easier ways for individuals to manage their online choices and to protect their privacy. “
The code covers activities such as:
– collecting a person’s details through an online application form;
– using cookies or IP addresses to target content at a particular individual;
– using personal data to market goods or to deliver public services; and
– using cloud computing facilities to process personal data.
Many Conveyancers who use online case management systems, quote engines or customer satisfaction surveys will have to comply with the Data Protection Act and the good practice detailed within the new code.
Looking at many of the terms and conditions that conveyancers place on their quote engines many are not acting within the code.
The new code stresses the importance of treating customer information fairly and in accordance with the Data Protection Act and covers topics including online marketing, operating IT systems outside of the EEA — including cloud computing, and the individual’s right in an online environment.
Conveyancers will need to be up to speed with the new code and the practices it promotes and discourages to minimise the risk of a data protection breach.
Do you know what risks are being taken in your office? Are you compliant with the Data Protection Act and various codes of practice?If not do you wish to discuss this mattter further, call Chris Harris on 07983 485490 or email at [email protected]