Privacy: How to handle individual access requests in the UK in compliance with the Data Protection Act

In many countries, such as in all 25 of the European Union states and within Canada, just to name a few, individuals have the legal right to request from organizations a verification of whether or not the organization has information about him or her, and organizations must provide to individuals, upon their request, a copy of their corresponding personal information in an easy-to-understand format, within a reasonable period of time from the request.

Organizations need to implement procedures to answer customer requests for access to their personal information and provide means to give them secure access to the information. They should communicate clearly to customers how their personal information is used and to whom the information is disclosed.
Many, if not most, organizations do not have the procedures established or tools in place to be able to answer these types of questions and requests from individuals.
When dealing with compliance issues I like to look first at the regulatory agency sites for tips and recommendations on how to meet legal requirements.
I ran across a great document on the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office website, “Checklist for handling requests for personal information (subject access requests).”
This checklist helps organizations to be in compliance with the U.K.’s Data Protection Act requirements for giving individuals access to their own personally identifiable information (PII).
This is a great, easy to read document. Including a decision tree, or flow chart, to provide a visual description of their guidance would clarify further, but that is something organizations can do on their own.
If you have customers or employees within the UK, be sure to read this.
If you don’t, this is still a good document to read to help you provide individuals access to PII no matter where in the world you, your customers, or your personnel are located.

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