HC Deb 19 April 2000 vol 348 cc553-4W
Mr. Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of the compatibility of his Department's data matching with respect to benefit fraud with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998; what representations he has received on this subject; and if he will make a statement. [119531]

Mr. Rooker

This Department conducts data matching exercises, including services provided for local authorities, primarily to prevent and detect crime or where they are needed to provide important assistance in the proper administration of the Department's functions and the protection of public funds.

In October 1998, we published a "Code of Practice for Data Matching" in consultation with the then Data Protection Registrar. The code sets out the safeguards, including procedural safeguards, which must be followed in data matching activity under the code. We believe that these safeguards and the processing itself conform with Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (and the Human Rights Act 1998) and the Data Protection Act 1998.

We have not received any representations about the Human Rights Act and the Department's data matching activities.