The Ministry of Justice has become the first central government department to be served with an enforcement notice by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It was rapped over the knuckles last month for delays in responding to ‘subject access requests’ – inquiries by individuals on data held about them. The Data Protection Act 1998 requires data controllers to respond to such requests ‘without undue delay’.
According to the notice, dated 21 December, the information commissioner has considered ‘a large number’ of complaints about the department’s handling of subect access requests. ‘On 28 July 2017, the data controller had a backlog of 919 subject access requests from individuals, some of which dated back to 2012,’ the notice states. While progress had been made towards eliminating the backlog by October 2018, on 10 November 2017 the MoJ had 793 cases over 40 days old.
‘The commissioner takes the view that damage or distress to individuals is likely as a result of them being denied the opportunity of correcting inaccurate personal data about them, which may be processed by the data controller, because they are unable to establish what personal data are being processed within the statutory timescale.’
Read more: Law Gazette, http://bit.ly/2AaFcM8