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The Problems With Automatic Data Processing

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 29 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Data Processing Data Information

In this day and age, our details are on any number of computer databases, more than most of us imagine. That data can be used to make decisions about you and your future, which offers a very worrying scenario. However, there are things you can do about it.

The Data Protection Act And Data Processing

Under Section 12 of the Data Protection Act 1998, an organisation is required to ensure that no decisions are made solely on the basis of automatic data processing. If that does happen, then they have to notify you of the fact as soon as possible.

However, be aware that there are some situations where the Data Protection Act doesn't apply. An organisation is allowed to make decisions on such as basis if they're for the purpose of deciding whether to enter into a contract with you, in the course of performing the contract, and if the effect of the decision is to grant a request you've made (which is acceptable as long as they've taken steps to safeguard your interests, for example, by allowing you to make representations).

How To Prevent Decisions Based On Automatic Data Processing

A number of decisions about you are made on the basis of automatically data processing, such as your performance at work, you reliability, even your creditworthiness. These are all things that can have a huge effect on your life.

If you want to prevent decisions about you (other than those that are exempt) on the basis of automatic data processing, you can send a notice to the organisation to ensure this doesn't happen. It might relate to a specific decision or be in regard to decisions to be taken by the organisation about you.

There's no special form the notice needs to take. You must make your identity clear, and explain the decision that concerns you. It does, however, need to be in writing and dated. It doesn't need to be on paper (although if you're posting, send by recorded delivery); electronic communication is acceptable, as long as you can be properly identified. Keep a copy of the notice and all subsequent correspondence. Your notice doesn't have to be addressed to a specific individual - to the Company Secretary is fine.

If You've Been A Victim Of Automatic Data Processing

If you receive notification from an organisation that a decision about you has been made solely on the basis of automatic data processing, and you're not happy with that decision, you have 21 days to serve a "data subject notice" on the organisation requiring them to either reconsider the decision, or take a new one based on different data.

You need to identify yourself, and the decision to which you're referring, and you must be explicit in your request to reconsideration or a new decision based on other data. The notice must be in the form of a letter, either or paper or electronically sent. Keep a copy of it and any other correspondence; it might be evidence if you need to go to court over the matter.

With 21 days of receipt of your letter, the organisation must give you a written reply, stating what they will do to comply with the data subject notice. If you're still not happy with their response, you can ask the Information Commissioner (http://www.ico.org.uk/) to make an assessment as to whether it's likely or not that the organisation is in compliance with the Data Protection Act. You can also take the organisation to court.

Court Decisions About Data Protection

It's not necessary to consult the Information Commissioner before going to court, nor does his assessment hold any weight with a judge.

If a court believes that an organisation didn't comply with a data subject notice, an order may be given for them to reconsider their decision, or take a new one that isn't based purely on automatically data processing. Furthermore, if the court believes you've suffered damage because of the organisation's actions, they may award compensation. Should they believe, in respect of the data, that there is a strong risk of further contravention, they may order erasure, destruction or blocking of the data.

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[Add a Comment]
I recently went to the F.O.S with ppi claims regarding x2 credit cards and 5 loans all linked to each other. My case was not upheld and i have evidence that strongly suggests innacurate, faulse and ammended information was supplied to the ombudsman, i believe there is around £10,000 in single premiums alone. Isnt this a breach of the data protection act and with interest and the fact this bank were fined in jan 17 by the fca for breech of data and fined £500.000 grounds for compensation. I have been persueing a complaint for three years and this cycle of debt was between 2006-2013. Am i correct thinking the business benefited financialy due to the breach and these are even stronger grounds to persue.
lambs - 29-Jul-17 @ 2:45 AM
Matt - Your Question:
My contract with my former employer is construed in English law and subject to English courts. Although I worked in Saudi Arabia for said company my contract was signed in the UK. During the course of my employment I married a national of the country. My employer was responsible for all aspects of immigration and medical insurance. It came to my attention that data on my wifes medical card involved both my wife and my ex wifes details. My immigration status was recorded as single although the company knew I was married and I had been allocated married family status and my religion was incorrectly recorded. Due to laws in that country my wife could not travel outside of Saudi Arabia without my written consent. As I am recorded as single this was not possible. Also I had left the country permanently and as I am recorded as single am unable to return under my wifes invite. I wrote to the ICO and they have claimed that all of this is not subject to the DPA as it is held and processed beyond their remit. Can this be possible, this is a UK based company and an English law contract. I was baffled by their response.

Our Response:
Can you not take action against your company to correct the data they hold on you? It's more of a legal problem than one to do with the DPA.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 24-Jul-17 @ 10:53 AM
My contract with my former employer is construed in English law and subject to English courts. Although I worked in Saudi Arabia for said company my contract was signed in the UK. During the course of my employment I married a national of the country. My employer was responsible for all aspects of immigration and medical insurance. It came to my attention that data on my wifes medical card involved both my wife and my ex wifes details. My immigration status was recorded as single although the company knew I was married and I had been allocated married family status and my religion was incorrectly recorded. Due to laws in that country my wife could not travel outside of Saudi Arabia without my written consent. As I am recorded as single this was not possible. Also I had left the country permanently and as I am recorded as single am unable to return under my wifes invite. I wrote to the ICO and they have claimed that all of this is not subject to the DPA as it is held and processed beyond their remit. Can this be possible, this is a UK based company and an English law contract. I was baffled by their response.
Matt - 17-Jul-17 @ 6:55 AM
I'm a customer of a certain broadband and tv company and I have held an account with them for the last 20 years , in my name solely, last week I called them and said I will be moving home due to domestic violence , they told me on the phone that is fine and assured me they will re connect my services at my new address , on the day of my installation they called my abuser and informed him of my address , they phoned him and said hello we are outside your property to fit your services and went on to tell him the address , my abuser then called me and said , I've just been told your new address and I'm on my way to see you , bearing in mind I have a disabled child and disabled myself , they had linked him phone number to my account some how , but still they knew of the situation and still proceeded to put mine and my sons life in danger ...... how about that ? I'm in the process of suing , I'm out of my mind with fear , how can companies do this is beyond me
Loulou4u - 14-Apr-17 @ 4:20 PM
Mary - Your Question:
My employer conducted an investigation regarding incident that took place, during this investigation officer had left my confidential information in an unlocked environment where all employee have access to, also that Human Resources had not subtracted my name and address from any letters when given the other person involved in the investigation a copy of the report.

Our Response:
If you wish to take action about this, you might need to do so vialegal professional depending on whether you are seeking compensation, an apology etc.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 24-Mar-17 @ 12:23 PM
My employer conducted an investigation regarding incident that took place, during this investigation officer had left my confidential information in an unlocked environment where all employee have access to, also that Human Resources had not subtracted my name and address from any letters when given the other person involved in the investigation a copy of the report.
Mary - 21-Mar-17 @ 3:28 PM
insurance - Your Question:
Recently my insurer gave details of my insurance claim to a newspaper which were published. This includes the figures paid to me for contents, buildings and accommodation after a flood event left our home inhabitable. I have not given permission.

Our Response:
Were you named or were your details just given as example data and you recognised yourself from this?
ConsumerRightsExpert - 4-Oct-16 @ 11:54 AM
Recently my insurer gave details of my insurance claim to a newspaper which were published. This includes the figures paid to me for contents, buildings and accommodation after a flood event left our home inhabitable. I have not given permission.
insurance - 3-Oct-16 @ 3:54 PM
Ev63 - Your Question:
During a marital dispute my husband emailed all our personal date including bank details, financial information only related to me, also my NI number to his son who then forwarded them to a solicitor they were consulting with. The son then proceeded to email back and fore between his father and the solicitor using his council email system to discuss/send my private information ( some of it derogatory and defamatory towards me ) the solicitor also communicated with the son through his council email making derogatory and defamatory comments about me. Shortly after this my husband passed away but previous to his death he cleared out our joint bank accounts. As he died intestate the solicitor returned 50% of the funds back to me as a debt to the his estate. His children are in the process of suing me for this to be returned as they are saying it was in his name only and he had more money before we married than I did. I believe that the information that my husband gave them in these emails which he took without my consent has a bearing on the ongoing case. Also am I correct in saying that son should not have been sending my personal information back and fore on a council IT system. Where do the council stand on this ? are they also responsible ? Do I have a data protection case ?, any advice would be great. Thanks.

Our Response:
You would have to see legal advice on this as there is a lot of detail to it and we don't have everyone's version of events.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 4-Jul-16 @ 11:49 AM
During a marital dispute my husband emailed all our personal date including bank details, financial information only related to me, also my NI number to his son who then forwarded them to a solicitor they were consulting with. The son then proceeded to email back and fore between his father and the solicitor using his council email system to discuss/send my private information ( some of it derogatory and defamatory towards me ) the solicitor also communicated with the son through his council email making derogatory and defamatory comments about me. Shortly after this my husband passed away but previous to his death he cleared out our joint bank accounts. As he died intestate the solicitor returned 50% of the funds back to me as a debt to the his estate. His children are in the process of suing me for this to be returned as they are saying it was in his name only and he had more money before we married than I did. I believe that the information that my husband gave them in these emails which he took without my consent has a bearing on the ongoing case. Also am I correct in saying that son should not have been sending my personal information back and fore on a council IT system. Where do the council stand on this ? are they also responsible ? Do I have a data protection case ?,any advice would be great. Thanks.
Ev63 - 1-Jul-16 @ 12:52 PM
injustice - Your Question:
My exneighbour put footage of us on youtube accusing us of being dog abusers he had the footage for a year and it was deliberately speeded up to 1fps to make it look like something it was not.he is a sole trader running a business from his own home can I sue him he went on to make copies and then gave it to the police and a animal charity who again put this out all over the net and newspapers.

Our Response:
You would have to seek professional legal advice in order to establish whether there is a case to sue.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 22-Jun-16 @ 10:47 AM
my exneighbour put footage of us on youtube accusing us of being dog abusers he had the footage for a year and it was deliberately speeded up to 1fps to make it look like something it was not .he is a sole trader running a business from his own home can i sue him he went on to make copies and then gave it to the police and a animal charity who again put this out all over the net and newspapers.
injustice - 21-Jun-16 @ 1:36 PM
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