Registering at the Information Commissioner’s Office

The Information Commissioner’s Office ( maintains the register in the UK of organizations who process personal data, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. As Black Country Gifts (www. collects personal data in order to process transactions, it has registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Registering at the Information Commissioner’s Office involved completing an online form and paying a registration fee.

The register includes the following information:

o   Registration number.

o   Date the organization was registered.

o   Date the organization registration expires. Registration lasts for one year.

o   Nature of work undertaken by the organization.

o   Name of the data controller. This is who is responsible for deciding how the data will be used in the organization.

o   Reasons why the organization needs to process personal data.

o   Types of data processed by the organization.

o   Who the personal data used by the organization refers to (e.g. customers, employees, suppliers).

o   Who the organization may share the personal data with.

Personal data is defined as data relating to an individual who can be identified from the data held. Black Country Gifts captures and stores data about customers. The data includes the customer’s name, address and the items that the customer has ordered. Records are also kept about when orders were placed and when the order was dispatched to the customer. Currently, Black Country Gifts only takes payment via Paypal and therefore does not store financial data about individual customers. Before completing their order, customers can choose whether to create an account at Black Country Gifts. Customers create an account by entering an email address and password. Customers who have a registered account may then complete a personal profile to provide more information about themselves.

Black Country Gifts displays a privacy policy to inform customers about the data that may be collected about them and how the data may be used. In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 the website also informs customers that they have the right to access any information that Black Country Gifts stores about them. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the website explains how customers can obtain a copy of the information that Black Country Gifts holds about them and how to inform Black Country Gifts if any of the data held about them is incorrect.

In establishing an online store, there is a tendency to focus attention on accurately displaying the information about products. Accurate product descriptions, pricing information and information relating to delivery costs are all important aspects of an online store, however, particular attention needs to be given to customer information. Individuals must trust an organization to handle their personal data appropriately. Security to reduce the risk of unauthorized access or disclosure of customer data is one aspect of information management, however, other aspects of information management also need to be considered in relation to personal data. Black Country Gifts must have processes in place to manage information throughout the information life cycle in accordance to legislation such as the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Further Reading: the information life cycle is discussed in Chapter 2 and information management legislation is discussed in Chapter 5.

Please use the following to reference this blog post in your own work:
Cox, S. A., (2014), ‘Registering at the Information Commissioner’s Office’, 17 October 2014,, [Date accessed: dd:mm:yy]

© 2014 Sharon A Cox