Data Protection Commissioner

Data Protection Rule 5

Accurate and Up-to-date Data

"the data shall be accurate and complete and, where necessary, kept up-to-date"
             - section 2(1)(b) of the Act

You must ensure that the personal information you keep  is accurate and up-to-date. Apart from ensuring compliance with the Acts, this requirement has an additional importance in that you may be liable to an individual for damages if you fail to observe the duty of care provision in the Act applying to the handling of personal data.

Accurate and Up-to-date Data: Test Yourself

You should be able to answer YES to the following questions:-

  • Are your clerical and computer procedures adequate to ensure high levels of data accuracy?
  • Has the general requirement to keep personal data up-to-date been fully examined?
  • Have appropriate procedures been installed to ensure that each data item is kept up-to-date?
Practical steps

Assign specific responsibility for data accuracy under the Data Protection Act and arrange periodic review and audit. Note that the accuracy requirement does not apply to back-up data, that is, to data kept for the purpose of replacing other data in the event of their being lost, destroyed or damaged.

Some Case Studies relevant to this topic:

The following Case Studies, which have appeared in Annual reports of the Data Protection Commissioner over recent years, may be of some interest. Click on the Case Study details to see the full text.

CASE STUDY 6/99 - financial institution - inaccurate credit rating - rectification - notification of third parties to whom incorrect data had been released

CASE STUDY 3/98 - joint bank account - issue of accuracy - disclosure - right of access

CASE STUDY 4/98 - credit record - issue of accuracy - review of credit referencing computer system

CASE STUDY 2/97 - data about two people combined in one record kept by a credit referencing agency – issue of accuracy

CASE STUDY 8/97 - credit record indicated that borrower had faced litigation and loan had been partly written off – issue of accuracy – previous concerns about fair obtaining revived

CASE STUDY 2/96 - a customer disputed his credit rating by a financial institution – issue of accuracy – the rating as understood by the institution

CASE STUDY 13/96 - criminal conviction struck out but details remained on Garda records – accuracy and retention of data – policy issues arising

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