It’s not every day that Data Subject Access Requests are front page news. They are normally limited to the inboxes of HR managers, DPOs, and GCs, received by aggrieved employees or consumers, keen to get some intel before the litigation begins.

Recent news demonstrates that DSARs are a weapon of choice for the aggrieved – whether it’s because they didn’t get their promotion, the performance review they were expecting, or their appointment to the House of Lords.

The Right Honourable Nadine Dorries MP has demonstrated how DSARs can be used in her Tweet thread below:

Whether or not she will get the results she is hoping for is a different matter entirely. Members of the House of Lords are appointed by the King, and the Data Protection Act 2018 sets out a specific exemption for information related to such appointments requested in Data Subject Access Requests. 

The ICO website has the below:

Note the difference between ‘conferring any honour or dignity by the Crown’, and ‘assessing a person’s suitability for [offices]’. Was this a deliberate distinction by the draftsman? This would suggest that the exemption only applies to those who were conferred an honour, whereas for the list of other offices, anyone whose suitability was assessed is under the exemption.

Given Nadine was not conferred an honour, perhaps she will strike lucky with her request? No doubt we will find out soon (or within three months at least!)

While employees and customers/clients will continue to file DSARs as a means of (1) understanding how their data is processed and (2) more cynically as a method of leverage against data controllers - do take note – if you are aggrieved at not being made the Provost of Eton, Poet Laureate, or Astronomer Royal for that matter – a DSAR is unlikely to be of much use!