What is legislation?

Legislation are the laws governing us all. In the UK we have three types of law.

  • 'Common law' which is not written down but has come into being historically.
  • 'Statute law' which comes into being through an Act of Parliament.
  • European Union laws

Each of these types must be adhered to by an organisation and it is up to the organisation to ensure the laws are implemented by it's employees.


Legislation affecting IT.

The legislation which this course covers is:

  • The Data Protection Act.
    • aimed at protecting the rights of the individual to privacy.
    • If an organisation holds data on individuals it must register under the act.
    • Personal Data should be processed fairly and lawfully.
    • Personal Data should be held only for registered purpose/s.
    • Personal Data should not be disclosed in anyway other than lawfully and within the registered purpose.
    • Personal Data held should be adequate and relevant and not excessive for the required purpose.
    • Personal data should be accurate and kept up-to-date.
    • Personal data should not be kept for longer than is necessary.
    • Data must be processed in accordance with the rights of the data subjects.
    • Appropriate security measures must be taken against unauthorised access.
    • Individuals should be informed about the data stored and should be entitled to have access to it and be able to correct errors.
    • Personal data cannot be transferred to countries outside the European Union unless the country provides an adequate level of protection.


  • The Computer Misuse Act
    • Before this act it was not possible to prosecute a 'hacker'. The act created 3 new offences.
    • Unauthorised access to computer material (viewing data which you are not authorised to see).
    • Unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences (hacking).
    • Unauthorised modification of computer material.


  • Copyright Designs and Patents Act
    • This act protects software developers from having their software copied and pirated.
    • A software audit should be carried out by an organisation to ensure all its software is legal.


  • Health and Safety
    • Both employers and employees are obliged to implement the relevant Health and Safety provisions, which are designed to provide a safe and healthy working environment.

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