Don’t be a pussy when it comes to data protection

Posted on January 6, 2012

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We often hear about Health and Safety regs being used by jobsworths to avoid doing all types of things. Some of these stories are made up, others sadly real. Well I have a feeling ‘data protection’ or even referring to something as specific as the Data Protection Act* is being used almost as much.

My personal extreme on this came a number of years ago when I was moving house. I had previously registered my cat with a large pet store chain with one of those chips that sit just under their skin between their shoulder blades. It’s painless (trust me, I asked the cat) and seems like an effective way of making sure your cat doesn’t go missing, especially if – as with ours – they don’t like old-fashioned collars.

I’d been in the new house a couple of months before I realised the cat’s chip would only link him with our old address. Off I went to the pet store, sans cat.

I asked if I could get the info on their database (a national database?) changed, to reflect our new address.

“Can’t do that,” came the reply.

I asked why not.

“Because of data protection.”

I scratched my head and only a few hours later realised they didn’t mean my data protection – they meant my cat’s.

The last time I heard, this kind of legislation doesn’t apply to animals, however smart they are.

Anyway, our cat died about a year later. I cried a lot.

*(Yes, this earlier said ‘Freedom of Information Act’, like my cat was digging up government info.)

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Posted in: Family