There is a lack of legal protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal information relating to them, especially when considering the increasing use made of computers for administrative purposes. There is also a lack of general rules on the storage and use of personal information and in particular, on the question of how individuals can be enabled to exercise control over information relating to themselves, which is collected and used by others. Mistakes in data held can wrongly label individuals with a criminal record or unfairly list them as a credit risk.
In the UK, 10% of enterprises surveyed reported unauthorized disclosure of computerized information by employees to competitors. Also in the UK, some 60 protests per week are made concerning errors in personal information held in state and private data banks. Such errors have been discovered in police and hospital computers as well as among commercial collectors of personal data. In 1994 it was reported that private security firms were offering to obtain confidential information, such as bank statements or medical details, on neighbours, friends and colleagues for £750.