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Enforced subject access requests now a criminal offence

While reading the ICO’s latest newsletter my eye was caught by a reminder that requiring someone to issue a subject access request in order to gain access to information about their convictions and cautions is now a criminal offence.

The practice is known as an enforced subject access request.

The ICO goes on to say:

Enforced subject access requests have previously been used by some employers, landlords, insurers and others to carry out ‘back-door’ criminal record checks circumventing the existing safeguards in the criminal record check process.

I do not think that the practice is widespread in the letting industry. In any case, it is now completely off limits.

The new criminal offence has been created by an amendment to the Data Protection Act.
For more details, the ICO has issued a guide on this topic, which may be downloaded from their website, here.