Privacy vs Data Protection – Know the Difference?

Do you know the difference between Privacy and Data Protection?

Privacy vs Data Protection – Know the Difference?

In a nutshell, privacy is the right, whilst Data Protection is the legislation that implements that right. Unfortunately of course it’s not as simple as that.


In practice and under English law, although there is no express right to privacy, there are a number of rights that are related to privacy.

The Human Rights Act 1998 (the “Act”) incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights (the “Convention”) into UK law. Article 8(1) of the Convention provides that

“everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.”

This right however is qualified by Article 8(2) of the Convention

“There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

Together, the Act and the Convention provide for our rights to a private life, but also provide buy adipex retard online some reasons why a public authority, such as a government agency could justifiably interfere. Many of the arguments around what constitutes an invasion or abuse of privacy surround the interpretation of Article 8(2).

Data Protection

The Data Protection Act 1998 describes eight principles which must be complied with when collecting, storing, retrieving or processing personal data, both online and hardcopy. In summary, these are:

  1. used fairly and lawfully
  2. used for limited, specifically stated purposes
  3. used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
  4. accurate
  5. kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
  6. handled according to people’s data protection rights
  7. kept safe and secure
  8. not transferred outside the UK without adequate protection

Additionally, the Act provides you with other rights, including the the right to prevent others from using your personal data in a way that causes damage or distress. If someone does use your personal data in contravention of the Act, then the Act also includes provision for compensation, albeit limited, from that person or organisation. Beware though, the chances of success are quite limited and compensation awarded can be quite modest and seemingly only when the damage suffered has resulted in some actual monetary loss.



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