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US Access: Data Protection Act guidance

Purpose: To provide guidance for barristers and chambers’ data controllers on the implications of US legislation to one’s data protection obligations where personal information is stored by US-owned companies
Scope of application: Chambers’ data controllers and all practising barristers
Issued by: The Information Technology Panel after seeking advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
First reviewed: 01/02/2016
Last reviewed: 04/04/2023
Status and effect: Please see the notice at end of this document. This is not "guidance" for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4.

The risk

1. It has come to the attention of the Bar Council that there is a potential risk of personal information being disclosed to United States (US) authorities without your knowledge when keeping that information on servers which are situated in the US or servers situated anywhere but owned or controlled by companies which are owned directly or indirectly (e.g. by subsidiaries) by US corporations. Many popular cloud storage and document management services store data in, or are in the control of companies based in, the US. Such services may be used in a number of circumstances, for example:

a. Cloud services for storage of case files, email or accounts;
b. External hosting of chambers’ files (possibly for backup or disaster recovery);
c. Chambers’ administration software (including fees and diary); or
d. Other provision of IT services to chambers.

Download: US Access DPA guidance:

Download ( PDF )

Important Notice

This document has been prepared by the Bar Council to assist barristers on matters of information security. It is not “guidance” for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4, and neither the BSB nor bodies regulating information security nor the Legal Ombudsman is bound by any views or advice expressed in it. It does not comprise – and cannot be relied on as giving – legal advice. It has been prepared in good faith, but neither the Bar Council nor any of the individuals responsible for or involved in its preparation accept any responsibility or liability for anything done in reliance on it. For fuller information as to the status and effect of this document, please see here.

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