As a technologist, I have observed with a strong interest the fallout of Carole Cadwalladr’s investigative journalism published by the Observer, the Guardian, Channel 4 and New York Times. Presumption of innocence is important, and I do hope that the official investigation will make responsibilities and failures explicit.
However, out of this tumultuous week for the Web and Social Media, I find the following photo extremely powerful.
Stealing data is no different than stealing money. This year, we will see the launch of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), but we should not forget that there already exist strong principles of data protection. For convenience, I copy below the eight data protection principles:
- Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met, and in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions in Schedule 3 is also met.
- Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.
- Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.
- Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
- Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.
- Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under this Act.
- Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.
- Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.
If anybody had a doubt, the law has power to enforce regulations. As an individual, I welcome this power #dontmesswithmydata!