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Does The Data Protection Act Protect Companies?

Paige Harris Apr 26, 2022 8:30:00 AM

Does The Data Protection Act Protect Companies?

The Data Protection Act (DPA) protects individuals, not companies or other legal entities. But if the data in question is about a one-person company, it may be considered personal data if it contains the credentials of an individual. So, it’s essential to know what type of data you deal with each day. 

In this article, you’ll learn about the primary purpose of data privacy and the type of data protected by the DPA. You’ll also better understand why companies invest in data privacy management software.

Privacy Compliance Software

What Is the Data Protection Act?

The DPA was created in April 2016 and came into effect in May 2017. DPA is the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) version of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

GDPR is a regulation created by the EU to protect its citizens against the misuse of their data. Every company that deals with people living in the EU must adhere to the seven principles of GDPR.

The purpose of the DPA is to protect individuals in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from losing their data to unscrupulous individuals and entities who intend to misuse the data for their gain. 

The DPA ensures that any company or individual collecting data from people in the UK doesn’t misuse it. This act also clarifies people's right to know how businesses use their data.

The DPA defines the responsibility of companies and other legal entities that collect or process personal data. It sets the guidelines for companies to follow when collecting, processing or handling personal data from individuals in the UK. 

According to the DPA, companies should have increased their transparency and responsibility by adopting more rigid rules to guard individuals against their data loss. The act also imposes severe fines and sanctions against any companies or individuals who deliberately misuse personal data from UK residents.

Therefore, every organization that handles personal data belonging to the people of the UK must put in place measures that can help them remain compliant. For instance, you should find the best data privacy management software to help you ensure that your data handling and processing activities are fully compliant with the act.

Before the act’s update in 2018, it had eight data protection principles. This fell to seven after the updated version went into effect. The new tenets didn’t differ significantly from the previous eight. The main difference is that the former didn’t address the growing need for data protection.

The updated version of the act introduced the principle of accountability, which is considered the most significant update to the all-inclusive approach. It places the responsibility to process personal data directly on companies while forcing organizations to prove their continued adherence to data-protection principles. 

Failure to comply with the DPA will incur fines of up to four percent of your company’s annual global income or up to almost 18 million euros. However, enforcement authorities have not yet been able to levy fines because most of these cases require extensive investigations that are likely to take years.


Final Thoughts   

In brief, the DPA protects individuals in the UK against the misuse of their data by companies and other legal entities. But it can also safeguard companies owned and managed by individuals, mainly if the personal data obtained from them can identify the individual.

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