Governments and organisations which collect people’s data should work together to create good practice standards for managing personal data, the Law Society of Scotland said today.

In its response to a UK Parliament inquiry into whether new safeguards are required to regulate the use of personal data by private companies, the Society states that international solutions are needed to ensure that individuals' privacy rights are protected. Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights is interested in exploring the threats posed to human rights by the collection of personal data, and examples of where they have been breached.

It further believes that regulators and law enforcement agencies need to work together to provide international solutions if data protection and privacy rights are to be properly protected. It praises the work of the International Bar Association by assisting lawyers in their compliance efforts.

Tim Musson, convener of the Society’s Privacy Law Subcommittee, commented: “The safeguards set out in the General Data Protection Regulation go a long way to addressing potential concerns in a UK context.

“However, we are concerned that consumers are not aware of all the ways in which their data is being used, and think that governments and data collecting corporations should work together to establish industry-wide standards of good practice in the management of personal data. Industry should be proactively addressing these issues, rather than just reacting to the latest data scandal.”

He added: “International human rights standards can be helpful in promoting protection of individuals’ rights, including privacy rights. Global principles such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights can be helpful in setting a standard for compliance. If they are well publicised, these principles could help create and reinforce consumer trust.”

Click here to view the full response.