Defence Against Data Theft

The Criminal Justic and Immigration Act 2008 creates a new defence against data breaches/data theft, which is an offence under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

The law allows for a defence to be put forward by a journalist, or similar, on the grounds that the reasons for disclosing information were in the public interest

Section 78 CJI: New defence for purposes of journalism and other special purposes

In section 55(2) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29) (defences against offence of unlawfully obtaining etc. personal data) after “it,” at the end of paragraph (c) insert—

(ca) that he acted—

(i) for the special purposes,

(ii) with a view to the publication by any person of any journalistic, literary or artistic material, and

(iii) in the reasonable belief that in the particular circumstances the obtaining, disclosing or procuring was justified as being in the public interest,.

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One Response to “Defence Against Data Theft”

  1. Data Theft: Parliment « Data – Where is it? Says:

    […] The reason is that Section 55 of the data protection act, which effectively criminalizes data “theft” [strictly speaking its not theft, as no property has been stolen], has a provision that allows for data to be leak for public benifit. Section 55(2) (a) of the DPA  states that it is not an offence to if to take the data if in “the particular circumstances the obtaining, disclosing or procuring was justified as being in the public interest.” In addition to this the Data Protection Act was amended by Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, allowing leaking of information for journalistic purposes […]


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