Data protection

Standard Notes

16.09.2014The "right to be forgotten"
In May 2014 the European Court of Justice ruled that a user had the right to have links to web pages about him removed from Google's search results because the passage of time had made them 'irrelevant'. This Note examines what the judgment means for search engines, for individuals and for the UK.
This note provides information about the introduction of the NHS system and the use of patients' data for research, and about how patients' can opt out of having information from their medical records shared through this system.
12.02.2014Trade unions: blacklisting
This note sets out the background to the 2010 blacklisting Regulations, the law relevant to blacklisting and some recent developments.
14.11.2013Retention of fingerprints and DNA data
This note sets out the current law in England and Wales on the retention of fingerprints and DNA data by the police under the regime introduced by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. It also outlines the background to the changes made by the Act.
21.06.2013The draft EU data protection framework
The UK's data protection law is based on a 1995 European Directive. The European Commission believes that the Directive is now out of date and has therefore proposed a comprehensive reform of the 1995 rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy. Aspects of the reform are controversial and negotiations continue at European level to find agreement.

Research Papers

28.06.2011Protection of Freedoms Bill: Committee Stage Report Bill 189 of 2010-11
This is a report on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. It complements Research Paper 11/20 prepared for the Commons Second Reading.
23.02.2011Protection of Freedoms Bill [Bill 146 of 2010-11]
This briefing on the Protection of Freedoms Bill was prepared for the House of Commons Second Reading debate. The Bill forms part of the Coalition Government's programme to 'implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion', and follows the passing of the Identity Documents Act 2010, which abolished identity cards. The Bill introduces a wide range of measures including the a new framework for police retention of fingerprints and DNA data, a requirement for schools to get parents' consent before processing children's biometric information, a new regime for police stops and searches under the Terrorism Act 2000 and the reduction of the maximum pre-charge detention period under that Act from 28 to 14 days. It also restricts the scope of the 'vetting and barring' scheme for protecting vulnerable groups and makes changes to the system of criminal records checks.
19.03.2009Coroners and Justice Bill: Committee stage report
The Coroners and Justice Bill deals with a wide range of matters including: coroners; death certification; murder, infanticide and suicide; prohibited images of children; hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation; criminal evidence, investigations and procedure; sentencing; legal aid; criminal memoirs and data protection.
22.01.2008Coroners and Justice Bill: crime and data protection
This paper is one of two which examine the main proposals of the Coroners and Justice Bill 2008-09. It deals with the provisions relating to criminal justice and data protection set out in Parts 2-8 of the Bill. See also HC Research Paper 09/07.
09.08.2007The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill Bill 130 of 2006-07

Select Committee Reports

21.12.2010A surveillance society?.
Government response. Information Commissioner; Home Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
31.03.2010Leaks and Whistleblowing in Whitehall.
Government response. Cabinet Office; Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
16.07.2009Leaks and whistleblowing in Whitehall.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House is concerned by Hewlett Packard's (HP) application to offshore up to 200 jobs, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Lytham and Sheffield, working on the Adams 2 contract with the ...
That this House notes that the Order that amended the Data Protection Act 1998 which came into force on 17 December 2002 removed the Act's restrictions on the disclosures of sensitive ...
That this House is shocked at the decision of the Jersey Courts to imprison erstwhile Senator Stuart Syvret for 10 weeks following his being found guilty of data protection offences; ...
That this House believes that Government data should be published in a machine readable open standards format and that data should be released using a Creative Commons interoperable ...
That this House regrets that many police forces fail to recognise the importance of a journalist's right to protect his or her sources; believes that the protection of confidential ...

Lords Library Notes

03.11.2011Protection of Freedoms Bill (HL Bill 99 of 2010-12)
This Library Note provides background information in advance of the Protection of Freedoms Bill's second reading in the House of Lords.
14.10.2010Identity Documents Bill (HL Bill 19 of 2010-11). LLN 2010/024
Identity Documents Bill. House of Lords Library Note 2010/024

POST Papers

08.08.2014Big and Open Data in Transport
This POSTnote examines key factors affecting the growth of big data in transport and current and future applications, focusing on road and public transport. It also explores challenges to opening up, collecting, disseminating and using big data, and to sharing data whilst protecting users' privacy.
15.07.2014Big Data and Business
POSTnote exploring how big data is being used by UK companies and the challenges and opportunities it presents.
15.07.2014Big Data Overview
This POSTnote gives an overview of big data.
10.07.2014Big Data, Crime and Security
This POSTnote examines the use of large and varied data in three key areas: crime prevention, crime detection and national security. It also covers regulatory issues and public perception about privacy, civil liberties and social benefits.
05.03.2014Social Media and Big Data
This POSTnote examines the application of 'big data' approaches to social media in three key areas: elections and polling, commercial applications and security. It also covers the regulation of social media data and public concerns around privacy.
15.03.2012Consumer Genetic Testing
This POSTnote explores the scientific, regulatory, and ethical issues related to genetic tests sold to consumers.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses