GDPR, the BRA and the future of archives
One of the biggest changes to UK data privacy law came into effect on 25 May 2018. The General Data Protection Regulations, also known as GDPR, mean individuals will have more control over how their data is used. And it ensures that organisations protect personal data better. To reflect these changes and new obligations the BRA is issuing a new privacy notice, which outlines how we collect and use personal data and the rights that individuals have over that data under the new law.
The BRA was founded in 1932 to promote for the public benefit the preservation, understanding, accessibility and study of our recorded heritage. The hype around the introduction of GDPR has led some to suggest that all personal data and records that contain it should be deleted or anonymised once its immediate purpose is over. Many organisations have records of their activities, containing personal information, which are of long-term historical value and the GDPR has provision for ‘safeguards and derogations relating to processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes’ (Article 89). During the Second World War the BRA worked to save our recorded heritage from ‘salvage’ as waste paper; we do not want to see the destruction of equally valuable archives in misguided efforts to protect personal privacy.