Data protection largely comes down to “common sense,” such as keeping sensitive data locked away and disposing of it carefully, a data protection expert has claimed.

Speaking today, Alasdair Warwood, a data protection consultant and member of the Data Protection Forum, said many businesses were probably being more efficient than they realised.

“A lot of data protection is actually just common sense,” he said.

“If you think about the sensitivity of personal information and what’s the common sense way of ensuring its accuracy and protecting it, then you’re going a long way to complying with data protection principles – even if you don’t know it.”

His comments come in the wake of Information Commissioner Richard Thomas’ criticisms of the manner in which companies adhere to data protection rules, made earlier this month.

The Information Commissioner’s Office received almost 24,000 data protection complaints in 2006 to 2007 and prosecuted 16 individuals and businesses in the same period.

However, Mr Warwood said basic data protection practices go a long way to ensure security.

“Password protection, care over not sharing passwords… keeping files in locked drawers or locked filing cabinets – what businesses should be doing anyway.”ADNFCR-8000151-ID-18223807-ADNFCR

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