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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Can an employer access your data without consent under the

Customer Question

Can an employer access your data without consent under the Data Protection Act? For example, if there is electronic recording of entry in and out of a building?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Is this building your work place please?

JACUSTOMER-jjtxw6r9- :

It's not mine, it's my husband. But yes, it is his place of work, where access control is used to ensure that only authorised employees access the appropriate areas.

Ben Jones :

OK, thank you, please leave this with me - I will look into this for you, get my response ready and get back to you on here. No need to wait around and you will get an email when I have responded, thank you

JACUSTOMER-jjtxw6r9- :

thank you

Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. The gathering and processing of personal data will be covered by the Data Protection Act. It would only cover the processing of personal data, which is date from which an individual can be readily identified. So for example in the case of access entry systems, if the system records fingerprint data, images, names or other personal details of the people using it, that would amount to personal data and be covered by data protection rules.

When the processing of personal data takes place, the party processing it must adhere to the eight data protection principles which says the data must be:

  • Processed fairly and lawfully.
  • Processed for limited purposes.
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive.
  • Accurate and up to date.
  • Not kept for longer than necessary.
  • Processed in line with data subject's rights.
  • Secure.
  • Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.

When it comes to consent about the processing of data, the DPA does not say that specific consent is needed from the data subjects but it is often sought as it is the safest option. In any event the consent must be unambiguous, informed and freely given. The requirement for consent to be specific and informed will be met where the employee has been told clearly what type of personal data are involved and the use that will be made of them on specific occasions. Consent is likely to be unambiguous where the employee has given a positive indication of agreement, such as a signature or the processing details are contained in a formal policy or contract which he has knowledge of and has accepted.

The data gathered by this type of monitoring should not be used for anything that goes beyond what it was originally gathered for. So for example if this data is gathered to ensure that no unauthorized persons are admitted to a building, it should not be used to monitor what time employees come into the building and use that against them if the employer accuses someone of being late or not working their contracted hours.

Ben Jones :

Happy to clarify anything further if necessary

Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you are unhappy for some reason with the advice - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you very much

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