Most organisations that process personal data must notify the Information Commissioner’s Office. Private Investigators notification must include the purpose of private investigation.
What is the Data Protection Act?
The Data Protection Act applies to personal information about you and how it is handled.
The Act obliges organisations to manage the information they hold in a proper way. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles, which make sure that it is:
- fairly and lawfully processed;
- processed for limited purposes;
- adequate, relevant and not excessive;
- accurate and up to date;
- not kept for longer than is necessary;
- processed in line with your rights;
- secure; and
- not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.
Notification, Registration, Licensing
Organisations are required to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office that they are processing personal date, and the purpose for which they are processing the data. There are a number of exemptions to this requirement but they do not apply to private investigators.
All private investigator legal entities (sole trader, limited company ...) must notify the Information Commissioner’s Office that they are processing personal data for the purpose of private investigation.
The ICO includes the notification on a register of Data Controllers. This is a public domain register and can be searched and viewed at the ICO web site.
The process is termed notification as the organisation is simply notifying the ICO that it processes personal data.
It is not called registration as this would suggest that the ICO checks the data processing procedures before entering the organisation on the register. The ICO web site is very clear and only ever refers to notification. Confusingly on the register it gives a registration number for the register entry.
It is not called licensing as there is not a licence.
To read more the Data Protection Act and to search the register of data controllers go to the ICO website at www.ico.gov.uk
Is my private investigator notified?
Since April 2011 FindaDetective has required all new advertisers to hold a DPA notification. FaD is unique among the on-line advertising directories in requiring this.