ICO – Data protection should be at the top of the list of things to be concerned about for everyone.
ICO – Data Protection, The law that was issued in 1988 states that any information, in any format, (digital, paper, visual or audio) that is held about a person must be secure, must be up to date, must only be held when it’s necessary. As a private investigator information and data are key.
When you are responding to the enquiries of a private investigator, whether you are a representative of a company or a private citizen, according to the Information Commission there two main questions that you should ask before you release any information.
- Who is asking for the data? You must verify the identity of the person requesting it.
- Can I legally provide the information requested? This depends on what information is requested and why, because there are exemptions from the Data Protection Act, for example if the information is needed to prevent a crime taking place.
The Information Commission has also issued some Good Practice guidelines for companies that may deal with a Private Investigator:
- Dedicate the authority to deal with Private Investigators to a single person or a specific team to ensure consistency. They should have the authority to determine if it is acceptable to release the information requested.
- Put a process in place in order to verify the identity of the person requesting the information and if the request is made over the phone ask them to submit the request in writing.
- Just as the investigator should only be asking for essential information the person dealing with the query should only ask and be given pertinent information that will enable them to decide if they can legally provide it.
- You should contact the person involved and inform them that their information has been shared with the investigator, with the proviso that it will not impede the investigation into a crime.
- Keep a record of all queries of this nature. It is also important to note why you reached your decision whether to disclose or not, and of course whether you did.
- If you have received new information it should be accorded the same protection as any other data you hold.