A little harsh?
AC writes: "If you had even a basic understanding of the DPA you would know that neither the Act nor the Directive it is based on limits the nature of 'purposes' for processing."
Hmmm. Guilty as charged - and judging by this case, neither does the Information Commissioner either, who believed the law DID impose some restriction in this way.
To be honest, I did not believe such a restriction to be implicit in the law. However, I have worked with the law, lawyers and the DPA for long enough to know that the English legal system throws up peculiar results from time to time - especially around this area of what is "implied".
Sometimes, as with the Interpretations Act, courts take a very broad brush view, arguing that although the letter of the law may say X, common sense suggests that Y is actually implied. On other occasions, the law is applied according to its strict letter.
I remain perplexed by the status of people found guilty of offences under the Video Recordings Act 1984, given that a court has now ruled that legislation itself unlawful. A strict legal reading would mean cases should now be overturned: but oddly, the CPS says not.
Maybe I am being too sensationalist in talking about this ruling gutting the DPA...but I would say that it is at least an "Emperor's New Clothes" moment. Because for a very long time, most businesses and many individuals acted as though purposes registered placed a limit on purposes that data might be applied to.
I have sat through lengthy sessions with some very expensive lawyers (Masons, in case you are wondering), explaining that there is only one permissible reason for processing outside declared purposes - which is a "blinding flash": a realisation that there was a need for a different purpose to processing.
That said, I was sufficiently aware of the law to notice that purpose is not enshrined quite the same way as the other processing principles and it did occasionally cross my mind that there might be an issue here.
However, as long as lawyers, Information Commissioner and companies all acted as though the law was as I presumed it was...that consensus held. What the Appeal Court has done is to underscore that that never was the law...so we must all think again.
So I do think that is significant.
As for pursuing the disclosures: the judges seemed pretty determined that if individuals had issues there, they should take them up with parliament that created an obligation for disclosure, rather than police or DPA.