The Data Protection Act gives rights to individuals in respect of the personal data that organisations hold about them. The Act says that:

Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under this Act.

This is the sixth data protection principle, and the rights of individuals that it refers to are:

  • a right of access to a copy of the information comprised in their personal data;
  • a right to object to processing that is likely to cause or is causing damage or distress;
  • a right to prevent processing for direct marketing;
  • a right to object to decisions being taken by automated means;
  • a right in certain circumstances to have inaccurate personal data rectified, blocked, erased or destroyed; and
  • a right to claim compensation for damages caused by a breach of the Act.

This part of the guide explains these rights, sets out the duties of organisations in this regard and gives examples of good practice.