Regina v Brown (Gregory): HL 9 Feb 1996

The issue was whether ‘data’ within the Data Protection Act 1984 was limited to data in computer-readable form.
Held: The offence of the ‘use’ of protected data required something beyond inspection on a computer screen including printout. There is a tension at inter-state level between the need to protect privacy, and the need for free movement of data between states. Lord Goff held that retrieval of the information would not of itself be ‘using’ the information so retrieved: ‘It would simply be transferring the information into a different form.’
Lord Hoffmann, Lord Goff
Gazette 13-Mar-1996, Independent 13-Feb-1996, Times 09-Feb-1996, [1996] AC 543, [1996] 1 All ER 545
Data Protection Act 1984 5(2)(b) 5(3)(5)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDurant v Financial Services Authority CA 8-Dec-2003
The appellant had been unsuccessful in litigation against his former bank. The Financial Services Authority had subsequently investigated his complaint against the bank. Using section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998, he requested disclosure of his . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Bignall Admn 16-May-1997
The defendant police officers had obtained information from the Police National Computer, but had used it for improper purposes.
Held: The prosecution should have taken place under the 1990 Act as unauthorised access, and had not been used . .
CitedRegina v Fellows, Arnold CACD 27-Sep-1996
Computer based digital images are ‘copies of a photograph’ sufficient for the Act, and so possession of digital entities capable of being transformed into images were such photographs. Making a file available for download, was sufficient to amount . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 March 2021; Ref: scu.86239