Data Processing Laws Behind Times

12 May 2013
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Data processing practices are falling behind the law according to a British lawyer interviewed by The Guardian newspaper.

The lawyer who specialises in data protection and works for a large firm says she believes that the law will always be playing catch up with the technology in the area.

Bridget Treacy, who is a top solicitor at UK law firm Hunton and Williams, told of the in-depth issues facing legislators trying to tackle issues with dating processing and other areas.

One of the major issues cited in the blog regards anonymous and pseudonymous data sets and whether they are truly anonymous. Anonymous data is truly unidentifiable; however pseudonymous data is created via data being removed from the set. Both of these data types are exempt from the Data Protection Act. However, in the case of pseudonymous data, the owner still holds the raw identifiable form too at a different location.

 She believes there is still a risk of the date being related to an identified individual and so it should remain subject to the Data Protection Act. 

Treacy mention the multinational firm Rayteon, which uses a complex algorithmic program to develop detailed insight into a person’s lifestyle, preferences and relationships via a collation of social media data.

This form of third party collation and processing is seen as a significant issue by Treacy, who believes that there could be used for means to an nefarious end.

The Guardian piece discusses in-depth consideration of the issues regarding data protection laws, data bases and other means to gather information and is certainly worth a read to gain some insight.

Image courtesy of [Shelia Mohan] /