The review is said to be a response to the request of the Prime Minister in October that a review be conducted of the framework for the use of information in the private and public sector. It may well have had an increased urgency in the light of subsequent events. In their opening request for views, Richard Thomas and Mark Walport write as follows:
Our personal information is important to all of us. We want to be able to shop online and have goods delivered to our door or workplace. We want responsive, accessible and individualised public services. And we want crime tackled quickly and effectively.
At the same time, we want to know that our information is safe, secure and protected from misuse. Exactly how is our information being used? How can we be sure it is being used lawfully? Who holds our information and to what end? And what impact is the sharing of personal information having on our private lives?
The Data Sharing Review will be examining these issues over the coming months. We will consult experts in the fields of information sharing and privacy, and review the evidence already in the public domain. We will make recommendations on how to ensure personal information can be shared in an effective and pragmatic way, with appropriate safeguards for individuals and society.
We welcome your views, and encourage you to use this website to contact us and to keep up to date with the progress of our work.
The terms of reference of the review are:
• consider whether there should be any changes to the way the Data Protection Act 1998 operates in the UK and the options for implementing any such changes
• provide recommendations on the powers and sanctions available to the regulator and courts in the legislation governing data sharing and data protection
• provide recommendations on how data-sharing policy should be developed in a way that ensures proper transparency, scrutiny and accountability.
For full details, see the consultation document itself at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/docs/data-sharing-review-consultation-paper.pdf