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Data Protection Act 1998
The Data Protection Act 1998 is a typical example of the application of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
As a former information officer in Central Government, I fully understand the reasons for this Act and how it should be applied. For example, Cracroft's Peerage does not contain "sensitive personal information", as defined by the Data Protection Act, about any individual. Information about individuals has always been taken from sources in the public domain and as such the inclusion of this information in Cracroft's Peerage is for perfectly valid reasons.
As a genealogist I have to deplore how certain individuals try to use the Act incorrectly to inhibit the full and free flow of information between myself and fellow genealogists, and as the editor of Cracroft's Peerage I have to also deplore how such attempts can affect the integrity of my dataset. I have yet to see any proof that any of the information contained in Cracroft's Peerage has been used for identity fraud, but I do understand that some people fear it might be.
Therefore to allay these fears I have decided that upon personal request of the person concerned I will hide that person's personal details, apart from their full name, from being displayed in Cracroft's Peerage and will mark this with the symbol "DP". At the foot of the page the explanation will be "DP = personal information restricted at the request of the individual concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998".
This is on the strict understanding that should the person succeed to the title, then all personal details will be shown as is only right and proper in a peerage reference work. Obviously should the person die without succeeding to the title, then all personal infomation known to the editor will be restored to the web site.
Last updated 23 Aug 2013
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