Criminalising Enforced Subject Access

2nd December 2014

As of yesterday (1st December 2014) it became an offence to ‘force’ someone to apply for a Subject Access Request about themselves. This was a technique some employers,and other parties as part of a contract for the provision of services, used to force an individual to apply for their own records from the police, past employer, or other state department.

Section 56 of the Data Protection Act 1998 means it is now a criminal offence for an employer or a third party to require someone to make a subject access request to access information, including about their convictions and cautions, and provide that information to someone else as a condition of employment.

To clarify, every individual has a right under Section 7 of the Data Protection Act to ask any orgainsation what personal information they hold on the data subject. This request is called a ‘subject access request’ and the organisation holding your information can charge up to £10 (or in the case of some public authorities £50) and have to supply the information within 40 calendar days. This right has not changed, just the ability of a third party to force or coerce you to apply for your own information.

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