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Data Protection Act Should Be Seriously Watered Down

Comment 17th July 2010

I am sure that the day to day operation of the Data Protection Act is not working as its authors intended. The ability of two or more persons to work together involving individuals' data  is ridiculously restricted, especially in such areas as names, addresses and phone and e-mail details, which for the most part are widely available.

My partner and I have been together for 21 years and we have, for example, a joint credit card account and joint bank account. If we need to speak to one of the call centres about something, they will only talk to one of us, usually the main account holder, and will not speak to the other. The same problem applies, for example to our domestic electricity supplier, their call centre will only speak to the named account holder and not the other partner without the named account holder being present.

True, there is an element of fraud prevention which needs to be applied, but the refusal to speak to one party or other could easily be overcome without call centres and companies refusing on the grounds that they are not allowed to under the Data Protection Laws. These problems can easily be overcome with the use of mutual or joint passwords and codewords. There needs to be a massive application of common sense, and a massive reduction in the number of people who refuse to co-operate because 'they are not allowed to under Data Protection'.

Why does this matter?

This country is obsessed, massively obsessed, with controlling peoples lives, and I hope that reversing this is one of the main cultures behind this government's website.

It is a little known fact, that while the NHS is the biggest employer in the UK, the second largest, under a collective banner, are the total number of people employed to enforce rules and regulations in this country.

It is often quoted that very academic people can fall short on everyday common sense, and while the need to have an element of Data Protection is correct, as so often happens in many areas of life, the academic types who set up these rules have omitted to allow for a common sense application in their day to day operation.


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