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Data Protection

On the 25th May 2018 the Data Protection Act 2018 was implemented by the UK as the General Data Protection Regulation also known as GDPR. It controls how personal information is captured and used by organisations and the government.

Everyone responsible for using personal data has to follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’ and must ensure that the information they obtain is for a lawful purpose, used fairly and must be transparent about its intended purpose of usage and used explicitly for that purpose only.

Data should also not be kept for more than is necessary, and whilst it is kept, should be kept up to date and handled and secured in a way that does not compromise its protection from unauthorised processing, loss of theft of data.  

It is important to note that there is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information such as race, health, sex life, orientation, ethnic background. There are separate safeguards for personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences.

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, an individual has the right to find out what information the government and other organisations holds about them and this ideally should be provided to the individual within 1 month.  

To make a complaint about the misuse of personal information or lack of security it should be made to the organisation, following their response the complaint can also be made to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

ICO
casework@ico.org.uk
Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Published 01/01/2018
Authoring body: Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
Principles
Resource
Equality Act 2010: Guidance (2015)

The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act. It protected people from discrimination, age discrimination and public sector Equality Duty, sets out the different ways in which the maltreatment of an individual can be unlawful.

The Equality Act 2010 provides a basic framework of protection against direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation in services and public functions, work, education, associations and transport, protection against indirect discrimination to disability, allowing claims for direct gender pay discrimination where there is no actual comparator and much more.

Before the Act came into force there were several pieces of legislation to cover discrimination, including:

  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975

  • Race Relations Act 1976

  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Complaints made about unlawful treatment, that happened after the 1st October 2010, the Equality Act will apply. However if was before this date, then the legislation that was in force at the time will apply.

The Equality Act 2010 includes provisions that ban age discrimination against adults in the provision of services and public functions. It also includes the public sector Equality Duty public bodies have to consider all individuals when carrying out their day-to-day work – in shaping policy, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees.

Published 01/01/2015
Authoring body: Government Equalities Office
Policy
Resource
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA)

The regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 relates to the interception, acquisition and disclosure of data relating to communications, the carrying out of surveillance, the use of covert human intelligence sources and the acquisition of the means by which electronic data protected by encryption or passwords may be decrypted or accessed.

There are three main ways of surveillance and covert human intelligence

  1. direct surveillance

  2. intrusive surveillance

  3. use of covert human intelligence sources

Non-intrusive covert surveillance can be undertaken for a specific investigation, operation or purpose. Its result is to obtain private information about a person (whether or not one specifically identified for the purposes of the investigation or operation)

Intrusive surveillance is carried out either in a residential premises or private vehicle; and involves the presence of an individual on the premises or in the vehicle or is carried out by means of a surveillance device.

Human intelligence source is inducing, asking or assisting a person to obtain information by means of the conduct of such a source. This is achieved by establishing a personal or other relationship with a person for the covert purpose and covertly discloses information obtained by the use of such a relationship, or as a consequence of the existence of such a relationship.

Published 01/01/2000
Authoring body: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO)
Principles
Resource
Criminal Procedure & Investigations Act 1996 Code of Practice

The Criminal Procedure and Investigations Code of Practice applies in respect of criminal investigations conducted by police. A criminal investigation can be defined an investigation conducted by police officers with a view to it being ascertained whether a person should be charged with an offence, or whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it. 

This document sets out the manner in which police officers are to record, retain and reveal to the prosecutor material obtained in a criminal investigation.

The roles and responsibilities within a criminal investigation can vary. The functions of the investigator, the officer in charge of an investigation and the disclosure officer are separate. The amount of persons attached to this case to fulfil the above roles will depend on the complexity of the case and the administrative arrangements within each police force. Commonly, where there are more than one person undertaking the roles, close consultation between them is essential to the effective performance of the duties imposed by this code. 


Persons other than police officers who are charged with the duty of conducting an investigation as defined in the Act are to have regard to the relevant provisions of the code, and should take these into account in applying their own operating procedures. 


Published 01/01/2015
Authoring body: Ministry of Justice (MoJ)
Standards
Resource
DNA and Fingerprint Provisions

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012: DNA and fingerprint provisions was introduced in October 2013 to cover the retention of DNA and fingerprints where it was ruled in the European Court in the case of S and Marper v UK that the blanket retention of DNA profiles taken from innocent people posed a disproportionate interference with the right to private life.

The protection of Freedoms Act strikes a balance between protecting the freedoms of those who are innocent of any offence whilst ensuring that the police continue to have the capability to protect the public and bring criminals to justice. 

A DNA sample is an individual’s biological material, containing all of their genetic information. The act requires all DNA samples to be destroyed within 6 months of being taken. This allows sufficient time for the sample to be analysed. The only exception to this is if the sample is required for use as evidence in court, in which case it may be retained for the duration of the proceedings.

Fingerprints are usually scanned electronically from the individual in custody and the images stored on IDENT1, the national fingerprint database.

For Scotland, the legal acquisition, retention, weeding and use of DNA and Fingerprint data is outlined in Sections 18 to 19C of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/46/part/II/crossheading/prints-and-samples

Published 01/01/2019
Authoring body: Home Office
Policy
Resource
Website and application accessibility regulations and guidance

Public sector organisations need to think about accessibility at every stage and ensure they meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) design principles. The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 are now active and applicable to all public sector organisations, including policing, and this guidance has been created to support organisations meeting the requirements for all new and existing websites or applications.

The guidance is split into several sections:

1. Decide how to check the accessibility problems on your website or mobile app
2. Make a plan to fix any accessibility problems
3. Publish your accessibility statement
4. Make sure new features are accessible

The main theme throughout is that accessibility should be considered on how people with impairments to their sight, hearing, movement, memory or thinking may use the website/app. Regular tests should be carried out from the point code writing even through the public beta stage and at every time a new feature is added.

The best way to meet accessibility requirements is to:

  • think about accessibility requirements from the commencement

  • run accessibility tests regularly throughout development

  • get a formal accessibility audit before you go into public beta

  • make sure the service works with the most common assistive technologies - screen readers or speech recognition software

  • test the service with disabled users and with older users

Legislation link: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/852/contents/made

Published 01/01/2019
Authoring body: Government Digital Services (GDS)
Guidance
Resource
UK Gov Cookie Cutter Data Science Project Template

This is a data science cookiecutter template for analytical, Python-, or Python and R-based projects within Her Majesty's Government, and wider public sector including policing, where it has been trialled and used as a standardised template for effectively sharing data science work and includes security features using pre-commit hooks to preserve sensitive information.

It also provides an Agile, centralised, and lightweight analytical quality assurance (AQA) process. Pull or merge request templates are used to nudge users to complete this process. This helps meet HM Government best practice on producing quality analysis, as defined in the Aqua Book.

The original developer in GDS has provided a blog post explaining the reasons for creation and provided a live demonstration from March 2021 on version 0.5.3

The National Standards Assurance Board reviewed this in January 2022 and found it being owned and actively developed by the Office for National Statistics, Best Practice and Impact team.

Published 20/07/2021
Authoring body: Office for National Statistics (ONS)
Reference Data / Templates
Resource
Open Source Software - Exploring the Risk (Good Practice Guide 38)

This guidance seeks to assist a range of IA professionals in exploring the risks associated with the use of Open Source Software (OSS) products. It does so by prompting a number of ‘whole lifecycle’ issues and questions which potential users should ask themselves when making software choices, not just of OSS, but also of proprietary products. This is because there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers when it comes to the security of OSS versus that of proprietary (typically closed source code) products. There are good and bad examples of each in this respect and no one type is inherently more, or less, secure than the other.

This guidance supports the Government ICT StrategyI objective of creating a level playing field for open source software solutions. It does not evaluate, recommend or otherwise offer judgement on the following:

Specific OSS products;
Savings in running costs that an organisation may realise by the adoption of OSS over proprietary products;
The legal risks that may arise, for example from issues concerning copyright, intellectual property, or infringement of licences

This guidance was reviewed by the National Standards Assurance Board in January 2021 and was deemed to still provide relevant information

Published 01/10/2015
Authoring body: Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) [HMG]
Guidance
Resource
Retention, Storage and Destruction of Materials and Records relating to Forensic Examination

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on the retention, storage and destruction of forensic materials and their associated records retained by physical and digital Forensic Units.

Published 01/06/2021
Authoring body: National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)
Guidance
Resource
Biometric Standards and Exchange Requirements for Home Office Partners and their Suppliers v3.04

The purpose of this document is to provide details of the biometric interchange and image standards that must be adhered to by Partner1 organisations and their Suppliers that need to communicate with the back end biometric matching systems governed by the Home Office Biometrics (HOB) programme. (Note that the current HOB systems covered in this document are the HOB Biometric Services Gateway (BSG), Home Office “Immigration and Asylum Biometric System” (IABS) and national police fingerprint system, “IDENT1”.)
The document is divided into five parts as follows:
1) The Home Office biometric exchange format – “HONE-1”
2) Biometric recording and image standards, mandatory
3) Biometric recording and image standards, conditional
4) Biographic data, general
5) Appendices

Published 01/07/2017
Authoring body: Home Office
Standards