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DATA-PROTECTION  1999

DATA-PROTECTION 1999

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Subject:

RE: Exam scripts - Personal Data Exempt - Marks Not

From:

"Street, Terry" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 4 Oct 1999 18:56:34 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (122 lines)

I note that in the current FOI bill all public bodies have the coverage of
Data Protection extended to "unstructured" data too. 
(unstructured = not forming part of a set of structured information)  
I'm not sure if universities are treated as public bodies for this piece of
legislation but if so it might make some of this debate academic.

I can highlight FOI amendments if you need details.

Terry Street
Terry Street  Acting ALM Coventry
Strategic Support Manager, Siemens Business Services Coventry, 2nd Floor
Waters Court, Salt Lane, Coventry, CV1 2GX
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> -----Original Message-----
> From:	[log in to unmask]
> [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent:	Monday, October 04, 1999 4:59 PM
> To:	Charles Oppenheim
> Cc:	[log in to unmask]
> Subject:	Re: Exam scripts - Personal Data Exempt - Marks Not
> 
>   
> 
> Charles Oppenheim wrote: 
> 
> I don't understand this argument.  The student is identifiable because on 
> the front of the exam paper is his/her name or some other method of 
> identifying him/her such as a registration number.  A set of exam scripts 
> form a database that is searchable by student name.   So, the student is 
> certainly identifiable from other data in the data controller's posession.
> 
> Ergo, the  examination comments are personal data.  To argue that "because
> 
> the comments *on their own* do not allow the student to be identified
> means 
> the comments are not personal data" seems nonsensical to me.  Or am I 
> missing something here? 
> 
> Professor Charles Oppenheim 
> Dept of Information Science 
> Loughborough University 
> Loughborough 
> Leics LE11 3TU 
> 
> Tel 01509-223065 
> Fax 01509-223053
> 
> 
> If the definition of 'personal data' is interpreted strictly, for the
> comment to qualify as 'personal data' the student must be identifiable
> from the comment and other data in the data controller's possession. 
> 
> The definition is conjunctive.  It uses 'and', not 'or'. 
> 
> Your argument is that the student is identifiable because on the front of
> the exam paper is his/her name or some other method of identifying him/her
> such as a registration number. 
> 
> If you use that information you are not using the comment at all to
> identify the individual. 
> 
> If the definition said the individual had to be identifiable 'from that
> data or other data', the position would be different. 
> 
> Assume the comment is 'Good analysis'.  Assuming that comment can be
> considered to 'relate' to the individual, it still does not help identify
> an individual. 
> 
> It also does not aid identification even when combined with other
> information which does, such as the information on the front of the exam
> paper. 
> 
> I agree the argument does seem strange.  Part of the answer must be to
> read the 'and' as not exclusively conjunctive, but as meaning 'and/or'. 
> 
> Additionally, perhaps it is not valid to attempt to break up the data into
> discrete blocks and attempt to decide which data qualify under the DPA 98
> as 'personal' and which do not. 
> 
> Both these latter approaches have the disadvantage for the data controller
> (and advantage for the data subject) of making a wider data set fall
> within the definition of 'personal data'.  They are also a matter of
> construction and interpretation as the DPA 98 does not contain a complete
> answer. 
> 
> -- 
> 
> From: 
> 
> Clifford G. Miller 
> CLIFFORD MILLER 
> Coborn House 
> Coborn Road 
> London E3 2DA 
> England 
> 
> <http://www.millercompany.demon.co.uk> 
> 
> Tel: + 44 181 983 6688 
> Fax: + 44 181 983 6699 
>  


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