Data searches routinely obstructed, report finds

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People wanting to find out what personal data is being held on them are being routinely obstructed by both public and private sector organisations, a Sheffield conference heard this week.

A study by Sheffield University experts found serial malpractice when citizens sought to exercise their legal rights to find out how their data was used, shared and processed.

Their investigation looked at over 300 inquiries and found what should have been a straightforward process was complex, confusing, frustrating and, in the end, largely unsuccessful.

The research covered fields such as health, transport, employment, education, finance, leisure, civic engagement, and security and criminal justice.

Responses were often incorrect, confusing and contradictory.