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Lets separate the politics from the use of …

Comment posted Spygate: Who was ‘John McKinnon’? Was Russell a victim of dirty tricks by a council false persona? by Hamish Beaton.

lets separate the politics from the use of computers at work. There are essentially 3 areas of control to which government, public bodies and the vast majority of companies would agree on.
They expect their employees to use a degree of censure when using computers. The word used is “reasonableness”. They expect the computer tool to be used for their business. The odd personal email and scan of the Internet is acceptable, as long as it doesn’t interfere with work. Most organisations circulate reinforcing information of dos and don’ts at regular intervals; Next is systems – most organisation go to some length to protect their systems – my organisation for example blocks certain websites and deals with attachments to emails in a set manner for the safety of its users and systems. My lead team has automatic rights to examine all email correspondence – indeed it is the way the organisation manages holiday cover – my boss can scan my emails and look at my diary – its not secretive – its the way we work. Personal stuff is handled by gmail; Data protection – all companies that gather data must have a prepared methodology and statements about who, what, when, how, why and for how long and how they destroy the data they gather from and give to.
A&B Council will have a nominated Data Compliance Officer. Their job is to ensure that the Council and its employees comply with the Data Protection Act and its six (or is it eight) principles and that data is managed for and by its clients (us) in compliance with the Act, both legally and in the spirit of the law.
All staff, officers and contractors working on behalf of A&B Council therefore have to operate ultimately within the Data Protection Act’s framework – there is no wriggle room. That’s the way it is.
So if an employee, officer or contractor does any computer presentation from which the inference is that there may perhaps have been a breach of Council’s data caputure and use policy or a breach of the principles of the Act then any such alleged breach must be investigated by the Council’s Data Compliance Officer. I would have thought that sending off newspaper clippings and a covering note to both the Data Compliance officer and Data Protection people in Edinburgh or London would see the start of exposing who did what to whom. Or have I missed the point?
Late addition – Argyll and Bute Council is registered under the Data Protection Act 1998 and as a data controller (notification number Z5909574), the register entry can be inspected at the Information Commissioners Website.
[What does “fair processing” mean?
The first data protection principle requires you to process personal data fairly and lawfully. Ensuring fairness in everything you do with people’s personal details is, in our view, central to complying with your duties under the Data Protection Act. In practice, it means that you must:
have legitimate reasons for collecting and using the personal data;
not use the data in ways that have unjustified adverse effects on the individuals concerned;
be open and honest about how you intend to use the data, and give individuals appropriate privacy notices when collecting their personal data;
handle people’s personal data only in ways they would reasonably expect; and
make sure you do not do anything unlawful with the data.
Fairness generally requires you to be transparent – clear and open with individuals about how their information will be used. Transparency is always important, but especially so in situations where individuals have a choice about whether they wish to enter into a relationship with you. Assessing whether information is being processed fairly depends partly on how it is obtained. In particular, if anyone is deceived or misled when the information is obtained, then this is unlikely to be fair. – Notes on Guidance from the Information Commissioners Office]

Hamish Beaton also commented

  • So where do these articles and comments get us? nowhere.
    The question to ask is “what do we achieve by what we do”. I guess that ForArgyle now has enough news clippings and comments to suggest that there may have been a breach of the Data Protection Act’s First Principle and that if it gave a copy to each elected Officer and the Council’s Data Protection Officer then A&B Council would need to investigate. If such a breach existed then it (The Council) must inform the Information Commissioners Office; and it is for the Commissioners to conduct an enquiry. So, is anyone going to bell the cat? In all probability – I think not. It will all be punted into the very long grass and yet again the Councillors will return to their petty squabbles and pointless political point scoring. We get the councillors we deserve. And ForArgyll? – Well of course “lets all have a heated debate” – It’s what they do best. Just a bunch of stirrers if you ask me.

Recent comments by Hamish Beaton

  • 400 Rosneath residents protest in person on Kilcreggan Pier on SPT ferry plans
    Sorry if I came across as flippant – it was never my intention. Yes you are right in that SPT has been less than effective. Equally, it is important that the MCA say the replacement boat passes muster and the crew have the knowledge and procedures to run the route for commuter traffic.
    Robert is right too – directly attacking the SPT will not change very much, the shambles they have got themselves into is perhaps indicative of their lack of expertise and they will simply batten down the hatches until things cool off. As he says there needs to be some form of EU review. The people of Dunoon lost the fight for a direct vehicle ferry which has had consequences for us in the Cowal hinterland. The fact that the Clyde estuary lacks integrated shipping routes is a disaster for us all. It doesn’t make business sense; it doesn’t make economic sense and it doesn’t make people sense. There should be a drive to harness all the expertise available and if I have been flippant, I apologise
  • Time for a serious rethink on concessionary travel
    Another slow news day for ForArgyll. Without hard facts this Article’s a rant.
    Haven’t ForArgyll run recent favourable articles on West Coast Motors. So did they check their facts with them then?
  • 400 Rosneath residents protest in person on Kilcreggan Pier on SPT ferry plans
    Jim B
    Let’s hope that embarkation is made as simple as possible. The fact that Clydelink has yet to run a trial and or service can only lead to speculation. Should we be comparing one service provider against another, then who do you use as a bench mark? I for one wouldn’t pick the Dunoon ferry, perhaps we should be looking to emulate a Scandinavian or Dutch example as best practice?
  • 400 Rosneath residents protest in person on Kilcreggan Pier on SPT ferry plans
    Interesting to see if the MCA pass this use of boathooks and fast footwork during the berthing milarky. Just run this past me again. At some point a deckhand has to clamber up onto Kilcreggan pier, in a south – southwesterly force 4-6 midwinter with iced up decking and ladder, whilst his mates, for’d and aft, are entertaining the “drooked punters” with some fancy footwork and nifty slight of hand with them fearsome old fashioned boathooks like they have on real BoT sportsdays – and on a 70 foot launch with minimum shelter deck? Says a lot about the planning of this great venture. Bit premature with the P45s at Kilcreggan I think? Sorry, but is all this for real?
  • Spygate: Russell demands confirmation that investigation will be independent
    Robert – check out
    There are procedures in place.
    Under the Data Protection Act, those who collect and use personal information have to follow rules of good practice for handling information (called the data protection principles). The Act also gives rights to individuals whose information they collect and use.

    How do I know if my problem is a data protection problem?
    You might have a data protection problem if any of the following apply to you:

    You have been denied any of your rights, including your right to see the personal information an organisation holds about you.
    Personal information about you is used, held or disclosed:
    for a reason that is not the one it was collected for, or
    without proper security.
    Personal information about you is:
    inadequate, irrelevant or excessive
    inaccurate or out of date, or
    kept for longer than is necessary.
    Before you complain to us
    First, tell the organisation concerned and give it an opportunity to put things right. Many data protection problems can be solved quickly without us getting involved. You can call our helpline on 0303 123 1113 for advice to help you to solve the problem.

    What happens if I cannot solve the problem myself?
    If you have contacted the organisation about the problem but have been unable to solve it, we may be able to help.

    If necessary, we will look into your complaint. If we think the law has been broken, we can give the organisation advice and ask it to solve the problem. In the most serious cases we can order it to do so.

    We cannot award you compensation. Our main aim is to get the organisation to change the way it works so that it handles personal information properly in the future.

    Supporting evidence
    For your complaint to be eligible for further consideration we will usually need you to provide us with supporting information or evidence.

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