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The Legislation that protects individuals and groups from the misuse of ICT Essay

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In this report, I am aiming to explain the different legislations that protect individuals and groups from the misuse of ICT. There is much legislation including ‘The Data Protection Act’, ‘Copyright, Design and Patents Act’ and ‘Health and Safety Act’ that carry out this protection. These legislations will be linked to the people or groups mentioned in Reports 3A-D.

The Data Protection Act (1998):

This act was introduced in 1998, and aims to protect the privacy of personal information such as a bank statement, passport etc. However, it only covers personal information about living individuals, and not businesses.

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It covers data stored on a computer or in a paper-based filing system and it allows people to check what data is being held about them. It is run by the International Commissioner’s Office.

The 8 principles of the Data Protection Act include that data must be:

1) Fairly and lawfully processed (used)

2) Used for limited purposes

3) Adequate and relevant. Only what is needed may be used

4) Accurate

5) Not kept for longer than is necessary

6) Accessible to the individual and able to be corrected or removed where necessary

7) Secure

8) Not transferred to countries without adequate protection.

The Data Protection Act helps in circumstances for people such as Mr Stan Chipcate, who in Report 3B, was a wedding planner/clothes designer. Mr Chipcate takes a lot of details from his customers, meaning that he has access to them whenever he needs them. He needs to make sure that all of this information is secure and cannot be accessed by any unauthorised personnel. He does this by password protecting the files and folders. However, Mr Chipcate can only keep this information for as long as he needs it, and after he’s finished with it, (e.g. the wedding has finished) he needs to dispose of it in a safe manner, so that nobody else can find it. If Stan keeps the information than longer than he needs it, customers may be liable to sue him under violation of the Data Protection Act.

Mr Chipcate is affected by the law in terms of him keeping a safer eye on the personal information he has collected. He has to – as said before – password protect all the information and make sure that all other forms of the data are deleted or disposed of. Only authorised people should be able to access this data and Stan has to ensure that only they are able to access it along with him.

Stan must be certain that the data is deleted within the time period with which he needs it, so that he doesn’t breach the legislation’s rules. He must also not utilise the data for inappropriate reasons. If this were to happen, customers may ask the Data Commissioner to intervene.

The Data Protection Act is also very dominant in enforcing its regulations on the local community, which in Report 3D is shown to use quite a few technologies to meet its needs. One of these technologies includes the use of cyber cafes. Cyber cafes see many people each day coming in and “renting” a computer for a set period of time. This means that they can do just about anything with, like it was their own computer (apart from obviously anything illegal).

The person who owns the cyber cafe usually has access to information regarding to what every person does on the computer they “rent”. This information must be kept strictly for business reasons only and must have no other purposes related to them. The owner can only use the information for the time the customer is on the computer and only for that time period. The information will be irrelevant to the owner after the customer has finished using a computer and then must dispose of it a safe and secure manner so that anybody else may not be able to access it. If this doesn’t happen, then users of the cyber cafes are accountable to prosecute the owner for violation of the Data Protection Act (1998).

The act has affected cyber cafe owners by making them act more cautiously while handling the data they collect about their customers. Actions such as password protection and safe deletion must be taken to guarantee they are not infringing the parameters of the act. Cyber cafe owners must also make sure that their cafe network is safe to use and may also not be breaking any laws put out by the act. For this, he must use a network manager’s valuable time to help him do this. The act also assists the people that use the cafes, as all their personal information is not used for any wrong reasons and they can safely go about doing what they do on the computers without the thought of someone finding out their details or something similar to that. If the people do find out that the owner is not abiding by the instructions of the act, they can ask the Data Commissioner to get involved.

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988/89):

The Copyright, Design and Patents Act sets out to protect the work of others from being stolen. It covers software as a whole and also the code that makes up the software. The only way to use these types of software is by purchasing a license that allows you to the right to use it.

There are 3 types of licenses: – Single User Licenses are the most common and they allow you to install one copy of the software only on one computer, although some do allow you to also use it on a laptop as well. – Multiple User Licenses are most commonly bought by businesses that need to use a lot of companies to run on a network. A 25-user license allows them to have 25 copies of the software running and this costs less than 25 single user licenses. – Site Licences allow as many copies to run as the user wants as long as they are on the same site. Schools often buy software like this.

The Copyright, Design and Patents act is enforced for many students, which use ICT, as explained in report 3A. Students who listen to mp3 songs may be exposed to the copyright law if they haven’t purchased the official song or album. The student needs to make sure that if and only if the song the song is genuine, he/she can keep it on their computer or mp3 player. The student does this by purchasing the songs or albums from reliable and trustworthy sources such as the online store “iTunes” and local high street stores such as “Woolworths”. If the student fails to observe the regulations of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) by downloading or getting hold of illegal music, then he/she may be responsible for violation of the act and may be sued.

Students who listen to mp3 songs are affected by making sure the songs originate from a reliable and responsible source. Some students have to download software from which they can tell if the website is genuine or illegal. Sites like www.woolworths.co.uk and www.napster.co.uk are identified with “green badges” to indicate that they are safe to purchase music from. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act has also helped protect artists’ music, which is subject to copyright laws and helps them to gain something for all the hard work they put in to create a song/album.

Health and Safety at Work Act – HASAWA (1974):

The Health and Safety Act, brought out in 1974, ensures that employers have a responsibility to take care of the health and safety of their employees. The employers have to assess the risks involved which could potentially force the employee to get hurt or become ill and have to do all they can to avoid it happening. People who have jobs including using computers (or VDUs – Visual Display Units) for most of the day are prone to certain risks and these are the people the policies cover.

Employers need to consider:

* the whole workstation including equipment, furniture, and the work environment

* the job being done

* any special needs of individual staff.

In Report 3C, we see Carl Heinberger, an administrator for the local Magistrates. Carl generally has to work on his computer for most of his working day, which means that his employer has the job of looking after him and making sure that he takes regular breaks. The company also has to provide certain technologies for Carl to facilitate for his disabilities, such as a Braille keyboard and the WorkPace Monitor software for his computer. The Braille keyboard allows him to work without having to constantly strain his eyes due to his partial blindness. While the WorkPace Monitor measures the time he works on the computer, aiding the employer to send Carl off for his regular breaks.

Carl’s employer also has to be extra careful, as Carl is deaf and therefore will not be able to hear warnings about any health or safety endangering moments. The employer has to provide a very strong hearing aid to make sure Carl can hear the most important warnings. His employer also has to make sure that the path to his desk is left clear at all times, so that Carl will know where he is going and may not fall down risking his health due to his partial blindness.

HASAWA helps people like Carl, as he has quite a few disabilities and the act helps to keep people like him safer and the risk of casualties can be put lower. The employers need to make sure that they are not breaking the law by constantly allowing Carl to take regular breaks, as he would be using a computer for most of the day. Carl’s employer has to ensure that he is provided with a work surface suited to his height, the correct lighting and a chair that can be adjusted. If his employer fails to apply these regulations, then Carl and other employees are entitled to sue or prosecute them regarding the problem, especially if it causes them health and safety issues.

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