DPA - Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act (DPA) is a UK law that regulates how personal data is collected, processed, and used. The DPA was first introduced in 1984 and has since been updated to reflect changes in technology and data processing practices and incorporates the provisions of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK law.

In effect since 2018.

Key provisions of the DPA:

  • Personal Data: The DPA defines personal data as any information related to an identifiable living individual. This can include a person's name, address, email address, or any other information that could be used to identify them;
  • Data Controller and Data Processor: The DPA distinguishes between "data controllers" and "data processors." Data controllers are individuals or organizations that determine the purposes and means of processing personal data, while data processors are individuals or organizations that process personal data on behalf of a data controller;
  • Lawful Basis for Processing: The DPA requires that personal data be processed lawfully, fairly, and transparently. This means that data controllers must have a legal basis for processing personal data, such as consent or legitimate interests;
  • Rights of Data Subjects: The DPA provides data subjects (i.e., individuals whose personal data is being processed) with several rights, including the right to access their personal data, the right to have their personal data erased, and the right to object to the processing of their personal data;
  • Data Protection Officer: The DPA requires that specific organizations appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to oversee data protection compliance.

The DPA includes significant penalties for non-compliance, including fines of up to £17.5 million or 4% of an organization's global turnover, whichever is higher.

The DPA has been instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of data protection and privacy in the UK and has influenced data protection laws and regulations worldwide.