Data Protection Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 13th November 2017.

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Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords) 6:15 pm, 13th November 2017

My Lords, Clause 12 deals primarily with credit reference agencies. It is not an area that I think we want to go through in complete detail, but in comparing the current version of the Bill with the provisions in the Data Protection Act 1998, in particular Section 39(2), we wondered whether the updating of that provision was entirely correct and thought it would be helpful to give the Minister a chance to respond to that point.

The question that underlies the suggestion that the clause should not stand part is whether Clause 12 constitutes a restriction on a data subject’s access rights. It can be read as a presumption that a data subject in this area is asking only about their financial standing, and not for other data that the credit reference agency might have. The provision therefore might be said to run contrary to the underpinning rationale behind the GDPR that data controllers should be transparent and that data subjects should not be put in the position of having to guess what data is held about them in order to ask for it.

I am sorry to have to refer again to a recital, but recital 63, which the Minister might be aware of, specifies that among other purposes, the right of access is to allow a data subject to be aware of the data held about them so as to be able to,

“verify … the lawfulness of the processing” that is taking place. This is different from the wording in Clause 12, in that the trigger appears to be based on the quantity of data rather than the type of controller. There is also no presumption about the nature of the data that the data subject wants. I think I have said enough to suggest that there is possibly an issue behind this and I would be grateful if the Minister could respond to that point.