Data Protection Policy

The Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) needs to gather and use certain information about individuals. These can include archive visitors, customers, donors, suppliers, contractors, employees and other people with whom the organisation has a relationship or may need to contact.

This policy describes how this personal data must be collected, handled and stored to meet the company’s data protection standards and to comply with the law.

Why this policy exists

This data protection policy ensures ITMA:

  • Complies with data protection law and follows good practice
  • Protects the rights of staff, visitors, donors, customers and partners
  • Is open about how it stores and processes individuals’ data
  • Protects itself from the risks of a data breach

Data protection law

The Data Protection Act 1998 and the Data Protection Amendment Act 2003 describe how organisations — including ITMA — must collect, handle and store personal information. These rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials. To comply with the law, personal information must be collected and used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed unlawfully.

ITMA, as a Data Controller, must adhere to the eight rules of data protection outlined in by the law. These say that personal data must:

  1. Be processed fairly and lawfully
  2. Be obtained only for specific, lawful purposes
  3. Be adequate, relevant and not excessive
  4. Be accurate and kept up to date
  5. Not be held for any longer than necessary
  6. Processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects
  7. Be protected in appropriate ways
  8. Not be transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA), unless that country or territory also ensures an adequate level of protection

Definitions

The following definitions are provided by the Data Protection Commissioner.

Data

Information in a form which can be processed. It includes both automated data and manual data.

Automated data

Broadly speaking, any information on computer, or information recorded with the intention of putting it on computer.

Manual data

Information that is kept as part of a relevant filing system, or with the intention that it should form part of a relevant filing system.

Relevant filing system

Any set of information that, while not computerised, is structured by reference to individuals, or by reference to criteria relating to individuals, so that specific information is accessible.

Personal data

Data relating to a living individual who is or can be identified either from the data or from the data in conjunction with other information that is in, or is likely to come into, the possession of the data controller. This can be a very wide definition depending on the circumstances.

Processing

Performing any operation or set of operations on data, including:

  • obtaining, recording or keeping data,
  • collecting, organising, storing, altering or adapting the data,
  • retrieving, consulting or using the data,
  • disclosing the information or data by transmitting, disseminating or otherwise making it available,
  • aligning, combining, blocking, erasing or destroying the data.
Data Subject

An individual who is the subject of personal data.

Data Controllers

Those who, either alone or with others, control the contents and use of personal data. ITMA is a Data Controller.

Data Processor

A person who processes personal data on behalf of a data controller, but does not include an employee of a data controller who processes such data in the course of his/her employment.

Sensitive personal data

Data relating to a person’s racial origin; political opinions or religious or other beliefs; physical or mental health; sexual life; criminal convictions or the alleged commission of an offence; trade union membership. You have additional rights in relation to the processing of any such data.

Policy scope

This policy applies to:

  • The head office of ITMA
  • All offsite activities of ITMA
  • All staff and volunteers of ITMA
  • All contractors, suppliers and other people working on behalf of ITMA

It applies to all data that ITMA holds relating to living, identifiable individuals. This can include:

  • Names of individuals
  • Postal addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Any other information relating to individuals

Data protection risks

This policy helps to protect ITMA from some very real data security risks, including:

  • Breaches of confidentiality. For instance, information being given out inappropriately.
  • Failing to offer choice. For instance, all individuals should be free to choose how the company uses data relating to them.
  • Reputational damage. For instance, the archive could suffer if hackers successfully gained access to sensitive data.

Responsibilities

Everyone who works for or with ITMA has some responsibility for ensuring data is collected, stored and handled appropriately.  Each team that handles personal data must ensure that it is handled and processed in line with this policy and data protection principles.  The following people have key areas of responsibility:

  • The board of directors and ITMA Director (CEO) are ultimately responsible for ensuring that ITMA meets its legal obligations.
  • The Governance Officer is responsible for:
    • Keeping the director and board updated about data protection responsibilities, risks and issues.
    • Reviewing all data protection procedures and related policies, in line with an agreed schedule.
    • Arranging data protection training and advice for the people covered by this policy.
    • Handling data protection questions from staff and anyone else covered by this policy.
    • Dealing with requests from individuals to see the data ITMA holds about them (also called ‘subject access requests’).
    • Checking and approving any contracts or agreements with third parties that may handle the company’s sensitive data.
  • The IT Officer is responsible for:
    • Ensuring all systems, services and equipment used for storing data meet acceptable security standards.
    • Performing regular checks and scans to ensure security hardware and software is functioning properly.
    • Evaluating any third-party services the company is considering using to store or process data. For instance, cloud computing services.
  • The Public Relations Officer is responsible for:
    • Approving any data protection statements attached to communications such as emails and letters.
    • Addressing any data protection queries from journalists or media outlets like newspapers.
    • Where necessary, working with other staff to ensure marketing initiatives abide by data protection principles.

General staff guidelines

  • The only people able to access data covered by this policy should be those who need it for their work.
  • Data should not be shared informally. Access to confidential information should only occur when necessary.
  • ITMA will provide training to all employees to help them understand their responsibilities when handling data.
  • Employees should keep all data secure by taking sensible precautions and following the guidelines below.
  • In particular, strong passwords must be used and they should never be shared.
  • Personal data should not be disclosed to unauthorised people, either within the company or externally.
  • Data should be regularly reviewed and updated if it is found to be out of date. If no longer required, it should be deleted and disposed of.
  • Employees should request help from the Governance Officer if they are unsure about any aspect of data protection.

Data storage

These rules describe how and where data should be safely stored. Questions about storing data safely can be directed to the IT Officer or Governance Officer.

When data is stored on paper, it should be kept in a secure place where unauthorised people cannot see it. The following guidelines also apply to data that is usually stored electronically but has been printed out for some reason:

  • When not required, the paper or files should be kept in a locked drawer or filing cabinet.
  • Employees should make sure paper and printouts are not left where unauthorised people could see them, like on a printer.
  • Data printouts should be shredded and disposed of securely when no longer required.

When data is stored electronically, it must be protected from unauthorised access, accidental deletion and malicious hacking attempts:

  • Data should be protected by strong passwords that are changed regularly and never shared between employees.
  • If data is stored on removable media (like a CD or DVD), these should be kept locked away securely when not being used.
  • Data should only be stored on designated drives and servers, and should only be uploaded to approved cloud computing services.
  • Servers containing personal data should be sited in a secure location, away from general office space.
  • Data should be backed up frequently. Those backups should be tested regularly, in line with the company’s standard backup procedures.
  • Data should never be saved directly to laptops or other mobile devices like tablets or smart phones.
  • All servers and computers containing data should be protected by approved security software and a firewall.

Data use

Personal data is of no value to ITMA unless the archive can make use of it. However, it is when personal data is accessed and used that it can be at the greatest risk of loss, corruption or theft. The following guidelines lower these risks.

  • When working with personal data, employees should ensure the screens of their computers are always locked when left unattended.
  • Personal data should not be shared informally. In particular, it should never be sent by email, as this form of communication is not secure.
  • Data must be encrypted before being transferred electronically. The IT Officer can explain how to send data to authorised external contacts.
  • Personal data should never be transferred outside of the European Economic Area.
  • Employees should not save copies of personal data to their own computers. Always access and update the central copy of any data.

Data accuracy

The law requires ITMA to take reasonable steps to ensure data is kept accurate and up to date. The more important it is that the personal data is accurate, the greater the effort ITMA should put into ensuring its accuracy. It is the responsibility of all employees who work with data to take reasonable steps to ensure it is kept as accurate and up to date as possible.

  • Data will be held in as few places as necessary. Staff should not create any unnecessary additional data sets.
  • Staff should take every opportunity to ensure data is updated. For instance, by confirming a customer’s details when they call.
  • ITMA will make it as easy as possible for data subjects to update the information ITMA holds about them.
  • Data should be updated as inaccuracies are discovered. For instance, if a donor can no longer be reached on their stored telephone number, it should be removed from the database.

Subject access requests

All individuals who are the subject of personal data held by ITMA are entitled to:

  • Ask what information the company holds about them and why.
  • Ask how to gain access to it.
  • Be informed how to keep it up to date.
  • Be informed how the company is meeting its data protection obligations.

If an individual contacts the company requesting this information, this is called a subject access request.  Subject access requests from individuals should be made by email, addressed to the Governance Officer at [email protected]. The data controller can supply a standard request form, although individuals do not have to use this. Individuals will be charged no more than €6.35 per subject access request. ITMA will aim to provide the relevant data within 40 days. ITMA will always verify the identity of anyone making a subject access request before handing over any information.

Disclosing data for other reasons

In certain circumstances, the Data Protection Act allows personal data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the data subject. Under these circumstances, ITMA will disclose requested data. However, ITMA will ensure the request is legitimate, seeking assistance from the board and from the company’s legal advisers where necessary.