The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) is a Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which defines UK law on the processing of data on identifiable living people. It is the main piece of legislation that governs the protection of personal data in the UK. Although the Act itself does not mention privacy, it was enacted to bring British law into line with the EU data protection directive of 1995 which required Member States to protect people’s fundamental rights and freedoms and in particular their right to privacy with respect to the processing of personal data. In practice it provides a way for individuals to control information about themselves. Most of the Act does not apply to domestic use, for example keeping a personal address book. Anyone holding personal data for other purposes is legally obliged to comply with this Act, subject to some exemptions. The Act defines eight data protection principles. It also requires companies and individuals to keep personal information to themselves.
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