Internet: Data Protection

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 16th December 2015.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Mental Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, (a) what obligations exist on search engine providers registered as data controllers with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) (including those with offices outside the jurisdiction) to ensure that any data processing by them complies with the Data Protection Principles and (b) what steps the ICO (i) has taken and (ii) is planning to take to ensure that such principles are complied with.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

Search engines are data controllers if they process information about living, identifiable people, for example within a search result based on a person’s name.Data controllersmust comply with the data protection principles, for example by explaining to customers how their information is collected and used. Although the main search engines are international operations, if they have an establishment in the UK, then their activities will be subject to UK data protection law.

The ICO ensures thatdata controllerscomply with the lawfor example by investigating complaints and carrying out enforcement or liaison work. The ICO will continue to engage with the search engines to ensure that the right balance is struck between online access to information and individuals’ privacy rights.

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