What is the purpose of data protection legislation? What are the principles of data protection act?

The data protection defines the laws that ensure data protection. Many countries have defined the data protection legislation. Many advanced western countries enforce this law properly. The data protection legislation of different countries is based on same basic principles.

Principles Of Data Protection Act

The principles of data protection act are as follows:

  1. The purpose of keeping personal data must be clearly defined by that organization that obtains the data.
  2. The individual about whom data is collected must be informed about the identity of the organization or individual that collects data.


Briefly explain some important privacy acts.

Some important privacy acts are as follows:

The 1980 privacy act prohibits agents of federal government from making unannounced searches of press office.

1984 Cable Communication Policy Act

The 1984 cable communications policy act restricts cable companies in the collection and sharing of information about their customers. It was the first legislation to regulate the use of information processed on computer.

Data Protection Act 1984/ Eight Data Protection Principles

Data protection act 1984 protects an individual from unauthorized use and disclosure of personal information stored on computer. It consists of the following eight principles:

  1. The information in personal data shall be obtained and processed fairly and lawfully.
  2. Personal data shall be held only for the specified and lawful purposes.
  3. Personal data shall not be used or disclosed for unspecified purpose.
  4. Personal data shall be adequate and relevant to the specified purpose. It should not be excessive in relation to that purpose.
  5. Personal data shall be accurate and must be kept up to date.
  6. Personal data shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for the specified purpose or purposes.
  7. An individual shall have the right to be informed about his personal data without undue delay. He shall also be entitled to access, correct or erase data.
  8. Appropriate security measures shall be taken against unauthorized access, or alteration, disclosure, accidental loss, or destruction of personal data.

1987 Computer Security Act

The 1987 computer security act makes actions that affect the computer security files and telecommunication illegal.

1988 Video Privacy Protection Act

1988 video privacy protection act prevents the disclosure of a person’s video rental records without a court order.

Matching Privacy Protection Act Of 1988

Matching and privacy protection act of 1988 prevents the government from comparing certain records to find a match.

Computer Misuse Act 1990

The computer misuse act 1990 makes provision to secure computer material against unauthorized access or modification. It was passed to deal the problem of hacking seriously. The legislation recognized three key offences.

  1. Unauthorized access to computer material.
  2. Unauthorized access to commit or facilitate offences.
  3. Unauthorized modification of computer material.

1988 Data Protection Act

The 1988 data protection act came into force early in 1999. It is much broader in scope than the 1984 act. It applies to the following:

  1. Computerized personal data.
  2. Personal data held in structured manuals files.

some important privacy acts


It applies to anything done to the personal data. It may include collection, use, disclosure, and destruction or simply holding the personal data.