Data Protection and ICT Regulation

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 “We operated mainly by persuasion. But we did not hesitate to use enforcement powers where there was evidence of rights being wilfully ignored”.(1)

Personal Data was traditionally thought of as paper files that were held in filing cabinets in businesses and Government offices relating to the personal information that they held about individual workers and citizens respectively, however, with the advent of new technologies people’s personal data is now flying through cyber space at unprecedented levels. Contrary to the general view that Data Protection is a new concept introduced to address security issues relating to the Internet, it was in Germany in 1970 that the first data protection laws were enacted, however it should be noted that data protection laws were not enacted for the mere protection of individual’s privacy in relation to their personal data, but rather to ensure that there were standard protocols in place to ensure that personal data could free-flow across the borders of Europe. Kelleher and Murray tell us that improved privacy standards are nothing more than a spin off from the European Communities desire to build an internal common market (Kelleher, D. Murray, K. 2007). However, Stewart Room states that, “The maintenance of free flows of personal data between countries is the second aim of data protection laws, with the first being the protection of privacy”.(2)
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