The UK Data Protection Act of 2018 was formed as a response to Brexit and is intended to protect how personal data and information is handled by businesses, organizations or the government. While the Data Protection Act (DPA) closely emulates the principles and rights put forth by the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the UK is now looking to whittle away at some of the protections that the GDPR has in place. The UK DPA replaces the previous 1998 law of the same title with new updates based on technological advancements. The law applies to any business or organization that handles the personal data of UK citizens.

How is personal data defined under the UK Data Protection Act?

According to both the DPA 2018 and GDPR, personal data is defined as:

“Any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.”

To boil that down: personal data is defined by its ability to identify a single data subject. In some cases, data does not become personal until it is combined with other pieces of information that can single out an individual.

Special categories of personal data include:

  • Political opinions
  • Religious beliefs
  • Ethnic background
  • Health data

What are the Data Protection Principles?

The Data Protection Principles ensure that any information collected is used fairly, lawfully and transparently for specified and explicit purposes. A lot of the principles hinge on what is necessary — i.e., that data is used in a way that is adequate, relevant and limited to only what is required and kept for no longer than is necessary. Ultimately, the principles state that data must be handled securely, including protection against unlawful or unauthorized processing, access, loss, destruction or damage.

What rights do consumers have under the Data Protection Act?

Under the Data Protection Act of 2018, you have the right to find out what information the government and other organizations store about you. These include the right to:

  • Be informed about how your data is used
  • Access personal data
  • Have incorrect data updated
  • Have data erased
  • Stop or restrict the processing of your data
  • Data portability (allowing you to get and reuse your data for different services)
  • Object to how your data is processed in certain circumstances

More FAQs about the UK Data Protection

What is different about the UK Data Protection Act and the EU GDPR?

Where the Data Protection Act only pertains to information used to identify an individual or their personal details, GDPR broadens that scope to include online identification markers, location data, genetic information and more. There are also some key differences in regard to how national security, immigration, and law enforcement are deployed. These areas are outside the scope of the GDPR, since the EU cannot govern matters of national security in other nations.

What are other UK data protection and privacy laws to be aware of?

GDPR should be read in conjunction with the Data Protection Act of 2018, as well as the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) for organizations that send electronic marketing messages and communications or use website cookies.

How can companies ensure compliance with the UK Data Protection Act?

Compliance begins with data discovery and classification. Data classification is the process of categorizing data into relevant subgroups such as “confidential” or “public” so that it is easier to find, retrieve and use. Another good way to make sure that your data is compliant is checking that your company’s privacy policies are up to date. Hiring an official head of internet security, such as a Data Protection Officer, can help your organization actively check and maintain compliance with the Data Protection Act.

Final thoughts

Ground Labs’ data solutions are designed to ensure the safety and protection of your personal data by enabling organizations to discover and remediate all their data across multiple types and locations. Our flagship solution, Enterprise Recon will help your organization gain compliance for both the GDPR and the UK Data Protection Act as regulatory measures continue to evolve.

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo with a Ground Labs expert today.

Want to keep up with all our blog posts? Subscribe to our newsletter!