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Personal Data Guardianship Code launched

BCS, in partnership with the Information Security Awareness Forum (ISAF) founded by the ISSA-UK, has launched the Personal Data Guardianship Code in an effort to change the culture of organisations towards the handling of personal data.

The code follows on the success of the BCS petition objecting to the changes in the Coroners and Justice Bill which would have seen drastic changes to the way in which government departments could have used personal information.

The code is intended to help organisations and the people in them who handle personal data understand their individual responsibilities. It promotes best practice and provides 'common sense' guidance, and also lays out information for the data subject.

BCS and the ISAF have produced the code in direct response to the number of high profile data breaches in recent years, including several in government offices. It follows sustained activity by BCS on the topic of security and data protection.

Louise Bennett, Chair of the BCS Security Forum explained: 'This is the culmination of two years work which began in 2007. The consultation work we've undertaken in that time exposed the need for practical help in changing culture to embed good data guardianship principles in all organisations.

'This is the equivalent of the Highway Code for motorists - it will help all those involved in the management of personal data understand their role and enable them to carry out their jobs better.'

The code identifies the principles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the collection, management and use of personal data including guidelines outlining:

  • the roles and responsibilities of the responsible person
  • the roles and responsibilities of the data handler
  • an overview of the rights and responsibilities of the data subject

Dr David King, ISAF Chairman, said: 'We should all be able to trust that our personal data is being handled with respect and is being managed securely. Yet, it is evident that this is not always the case.

'The aim of the guide is to encourage a sea-change in the attitude to data and how it is handled. We hope that the guide will encourage people to understand their roles in this chain of activity and empower them to better understand the law and processes.'

More information and the code can be found at: www.bcs.org/datacode