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Transborder dataflows

Many UK organisations are falling foul of the law
because they are simply unaware of its existence,
says Andrew Sparrow

22 November 2002

One facet of the data protection legislation is often overlooked by companies carrying on international business. They fail to understand the information superhighway has border controls when transferring data from the European Economic Area to the rest of the world. Examples include the use of information collected as a result of online ordering to send offers of products to existing customers worldwide, and the centralisation of data processing by a parent company with multinational subsidiaries. Ignorance of the rules means such companies are unwittingly breaking the law on a daily basis. Legislative background The legal basis of the control lies within the Data Protection Act 1998. Section 4(4) provides: “…it shall be the duty of a data controller to comply with the data protection principles in relation to all personal data with respect to which he is the data controller.” The eight data protection principles are set out in Sched 1 to the Act. The Eigh...

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