Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

HOW many times have you come to the conclusion that new laws are there to stop ordinary people doing harmless things, while large commercial concerns are allowed to carry on regardless? Last March, Dr Audrey Hogarth, a Spectator reader, had the idea of holding a reunion for pupils who had been with her at Banbury School between 1942 and 1944. She wrote to the school asking for old form lists and received the disappointing reply that the school was forbidden to disclose such information under the Data Protection Act.

The Act, which dates from the mid1980s, prevents individuals or organisations from disclosing any personal information held on computer unless the individuals have been warned about the uses to which it would be put. And from 2007 the ban will apply not just to computerised records but written ones too. Any school, whether it has computerised its records or not, will therefore be forbidden to disclose names and addresses of pupils unless those pupils, back in the 1940s or whenever, had been warned about the possibility of a fellow pupil wanting to hold a reunion in the year 2000. …

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