25 July 2023

In the news: requesting your personal data

By Jess Pembroke, Head of Data Protection

Nigel Farage and other public figures have recently been reported in the news using data protection legislation to access information  that others hold about them. This could be data from files, emails, WhatsApp messages or recorded meeting notes.

A Data Subject Access Requests, known as DSARs or SARs for short, is the ability to obtain your personal data that is held by an organisation. This might be your employer or, in Farage’s case, his bank.

DSARs have been around for a long time. However, revisions to UK copyright legislation in the form of UK GDPR (General Data Protection Legislation) and the Data Protection Act 2018, have both increased the profile of SARs and removed the associated fee. Subsequently, they are becoming more common-place requests in terms of HR disputes, legal challenges, and child safeguarding cases in schools.

The importance of complying with the legislative obligations in fulfilling a Subject Access Request cannot be underestimated. In May 2023, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s Information Regulatory Body reprimanded Norfolk County Council for responding to only half of the 511 SARs it had received between 6 April 2021 and 6 April 2022. Whilst they were not fined, they were instructed to implement the following steps by November 2023:

  1. Responding to SARs within statutory deadlines.
  2. Ensuring adequate staff resources to process and respond to SARs.
  3. Implementing effective measures to address its backlog.

Many clients come to Naomi Korn Associates to help them deal with DSARs. Some of our clients contract us as their Data Protection Officer (DPO) on a retainer service. As part of this service, we manage their DSARs directly. 

Clients with more in-house capacity, ask us to review and strengthen their internal processes so that they can manage their own DSARs in a timely and efficient manner. 

Not only does our support help clients to remain legally compliant, it boosts their confidence in dealing with DSARs, and helps them to maintain their organisational reputation.

Naomi Korn Associates offer a range of data protection services to help organisations with their data protection responsibilities so that it is managed legally, safely and strategically. For more information contact info@naomikorn.com.

Naomi Korn Associates celebrates 20 years in 2023. For business updates, sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter @NKorn and LinkedIn: Naomi Korn Associates.

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