Data Protection Act Definition

Modern society is aimed at privacy in all aspects of life. Intellectual property is required to be copyrighted and is considered to be plagiarized if somebody uses it without permission. Plagiarism is a crime in the twenty-first century; it is punishable and may involve serious circumstances. Certain restrictions also exist when it comes to using private personal information. One should be careful when using this kind of information without permission for, due to the Data Protection Act adopted in 1984, it is unlawful to obtain, store, and process information that was accessed without proper authorization. Data Protection Act guaranteed the safety of personal data but led to misinterpretation of some of its provisions, which had adverse effects on society.

To begin with, the primary purpose of the Data Protection Act was to protect individuals and their personal information. “The original Data Protection Act established a number of principles to which any organization recording and retaining electronic information about patients and individuals had to adhere” (Darley & Royal College of Nursing 2002). The act demanded lawful and fair obtaining and processing of information and using personal data only for specific lawful purposes under condition that these data are relevant and not excessive; the act also prohibited storing the unnecessary or already used data by a company and was aimed at preventing the access to personal data without the permission of the individual. The act failed to “address the needs of systems even then” (Darley & Royal College of Nursing 2002) and required a series of amendments and other pieces of legislation in order to make it more acceptable.

Moreover, Data Protection Act involved a number of unintended adverse side-effects. The matter is that, within this act, it is lawful to conceal certain data which, as different organizations claim, is unnecessary for the population to know. This concerns, in the first place, police, and public organizations. For instance, the police concealed information about Ian Huntley, Soham’s murderer. The policemen tried to act in compliance with the provisions of DPA, which resulted in detaining the criminal much later than it could have been otherwise. This case was followed “by the failure by British Gas, again misunderstanding the DPA, to inform social services that the heating supply to an elderly couple’s residence had been cut off, with fatal consequences. (Boundy) These examples prove that the side-effects of the act are rather serious and sometimes irrevocable.

Considering the reports of the members of the discussion, it can be stated that some of them could have achieved a higher mark if they had conducted more thorough research and paid more attention to their papers. For example, the paper by Jill Gaye Duff is a mere exposition of facts that are hard to read and comprehend. The student gives enough information about the act stating precisely its provisions, the pieces of legislation which followed it, and major criticisms of the act. However, a higher mark could have been achieved if the paper contained more paraphrased (not cited) information and was structured more clearly.

Therefore, it can be concluded that Data Protection Act could be more beneficial for individuals if its provisions addressed not only business but everyday issues as well because the failure of non-business organizations to interpret the act correctly led to harming people instead of protecting them.


Boudy, C 2004, Elsevier Health Sciences, Guardian News and Media Limited, Web.

Darley, M & Royal College of Nursing, 2002, Managing Communication in Health Care: Six Steps to Effective Management Series, Elsevier Health Sciences.

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