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Allen & Overy updates UK data protection App "Access Assist"

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Nigel Parker



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10 March 2014

Allen & Overy has launched a new version of its Access Assist App for iPad, designed to help businesses of all kinds deal with requests for access to the personal data they hold, whether relating to employees, customers or others.

"Access Assist" is a free Q&A tool, supported by targeted summaries of applicable law, legislation, case law and guidance.

The Data Protection Act gives individuals the right to be told what personal data an organisation is processing about them and to receive a copy of that information by making a data “subject access request”. Compliance with such requests can require business to undertake searches of large volumes of often unstructured data, including email correspondence, which can result in massive costs. Requests are typically received in connection with employee disputes or other litigation. Failure to comply with requests can lead to complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office and, potentially, fines of up to £500,000.

Access Assist takes users through a series of factual questions to assist in determining if and to what extent a response is required, as well as providing supporting information on how to respond.

The App has been updated to reflect recent ICO guidance, including its Subject Access Code of Practice and case law.

Nigel Parker, a senior associate in A&O's data protection team, said: "Complying with subject access requests can result in huge costs and risks to data controllers, whereas failure to comply can result in complaints to the ICO and fines, as well as claims from the individuals involved. It is important for businesses to keep up-to-date with ICO guidance and case law developments."

Access Assist is now available to download free of charge from the Apple App Store.

If you don’t have access to an iPad, please email