Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blaggers: go directly to jail

The Department for Constitutional Affairs has just published its summary of responses to its consultation 'Increasing penalties for deliberate and wilful misuse of personal data' (via Open Rights Group). It concludes:

The Government is therefore minded to amend section 60 of the Data Protection Act 1998 to allow for, in addition to the current fines:

  • On summary conviction, up to six months imprisonment (which will be increased to twelve months imprisonment in England and Wales when s154 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 comes in to force and in Scotland when s35 of the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007 comes into force); and

  • On conviction on indictment, up to two years imprisonment.

The Government believes that the introduction of custodial penalties will be an effective deterrent to those who seek to procure or wilfully abuse personal data, as agreed by the majority of respondents. It is clear that current financial sanctions are not solely a sufficient deterrent to those engaged in the illegal trade in personal information.

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