5. Your rights

Under the sixth Data Protection principle, data subjects have the:

Right to subject access

You are allowed to see any personal data that a company is holding about you. In order to do this, you must apply in writing to the data controller and pay a small fee (often around £10). The company must respond to the request within forty days.

Right to rectify, block or remove incorrect data

If you believe that personal data which is being stored about you is incorrect then you have the right to have that data changed.

Right to compensation if damage and distress is suffered by the Act being contravened

If you believe that you have suffered damage and distress because a company holding or processing your personal data has not followed the requirements of the DPA you have the right to claim compensation. Damage can include physical and financial loss and also damage to your personal reputation. You cannot claim for distress alone and so will have to prove that it was the damage caused by the company which resulted in your distress.

Right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress

If you believe that damage or distress will be caused to you by the processing of your personal data by a company, you have the right to ask them to stop. However, this cannot be done for trivial purposes and you would have to prove that the potential damage and distress would be significant. Often the only way to stop a company from processing your data is to take them to court and let the court make the decision.

Right to prevent processing for the purposes of direct marketing

We are all bombarded by lots of junk mail which is produced by companies in an effort to get you to buy their products. You have the right to opt out of any direct marketing by these companies by contacting them and asking them to remove you from their mailing list.

Rights in relation to automated decision making

You have the right to prevent a company from making a decision based upon automated processing. For example, some banks decide whether a customer should be given a mortgage on the basis of a computer program. If you feel that a decision based upon the results of automated processing would be unfair or biased, you can ask that a human makes the decision instead. In order to do this you must write to the Data Controller and inform them that no decisions should be taken about you based on automatic processing.


Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Your Rights