Government Departments: Databases

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th April 2009.

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Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Spokesperson for the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many legal challenges under (a) the Human Rights Act 1998, and (b) data protection law, have been made in relation to each of the 46 government databases listed in the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust report Database State.

Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Government Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. Challenges under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Data Protection Act 1998 can arise under a wide range of causes of action including judicial reviews and applications to the Information Commissioner. It is, therefore, often not possible to distinguish cases based on the Data Protection Act or Human Rights Act without examining the case papers in detail. Each government department would be required to consider whether any challenge referred to one of the 46 databases and if either the Human Rights Act or Data Protection Act had allegedly been breached. Further, some of the databases listed in the report are not controlled by a government department so Her Majesty's Government may not be a respondent to proceedings about a particular database.

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