Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The power of data sharing should be unleashed in Scotland according to Socitm

Socitm membership include leaders and managers in the design and delivery of digital and IT-enabled services for public benefit.
They believe that "unleashing the potential of data, though desirable, still has a way to go." [Desirable for who?]

"Information is power and we need to share as far as we can the information we have." So said Jane Morgan, deputy director of the Scottish Governments Digital Directorate, neatly capturing the mood as senior public sector figures met for Socitm Scotlands annual conference this week..."

Big data, as it is known, is not the only area where transparency is considered crucial. "If youre not transparent, Joe Public immediately thinks youve got something to hide," when it comes to personal data, warned Maureen Falconer, senior policy officer with the Information Commissioners Office in Scotland. That said, seeking consent is not always necessary. The Data Protection Act sets out a number of conditions for processing personal data other than seeking consent.

"One of the messages that the ICO in Scotland has been giving for the past three years at least, in relation to the Children and Young People Act and the named person agenda, is dont ask for consent if youre going to do it anyway," added Falconer.

"What we have to have within consent is meaningful choice that is absolutely fundamental. Dont ask me for my consent if I really dont have a choice in the matter. Just go ahead and do it, because youre going to have to rely on one of these other conditions for processing in any event, so have the courage of your convictions and do it anyway."

There is something very strange going on here:
The Data Protection Act 1998 is reservedlegislation, which applies across the UK and cannot be tinkered with unilaterally by the Scottish Parliament; so why is it that Scots citizens are currently afforded less legal protection of their personal data than their English, Welsh and Manx counterparts?

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