Data Protection Act costs country £53m every year

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Indy Politics

Legislation to control the use of personal information costs Britain £53 million every year, the Government disclosed today.

A review of the law found companies bear the brunt of costs inflicted by the Data Protection Act 1998.

Officials said they spend around £50 million a year responding to "subject access requests" for information by individuals.

But the law also saves companies up to £15.5 million a year in losses caused by losing valuable data.

The financial impact of the Data Protection Act was highlighted as the Government launched an appeal for views on the usefulness of the law.

The move comes as the European Union prepares to negotiate new laws to safeguard personal information next year.

Justice Minister Lord McNally said the review will examine whether the Information Commissioner should be given more powers to penalise those who flout the law.

He said: "Since these laws were introduced just over a decade ago, the way we live our lives has been radically transformed by the digital revolution.

"Whether we are shopping online, banking or renewing our passport, we are handing over the keys to our personal information almost daily.

"We want to gather evidence and views on whether the current data protection laws are working in light of social and technological changes since the mid-1990s.

"As individuals, citizens and consumers, we have the right to know our data is properly protected, and the Government is keen to gather evidence about how helpful the existing legislation is, as well as ideas on how the current data protection regime can be improved.

"This Government is committed to protecting civil liberties and personal privacy, and we want to make sure that current laws do not allow unreasonable intrusions into people's lives - while balancing this with the need to ensure the laws are not placing undue burdens on business and other organisations that collect personal data."

:: Details of how to respond to the Government's call for evidence can be found at