The Data Protection Act makes provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to individuals, including the obtaining, holding, use or disclosure of such information.
The Data Protection Act requires all organisations that handle personal information to comply with a number of important principles regarding privacy and disclosure, including abiding by the above eight principles.
The Act gives individuals rights over their personal information and allows them to find out what personal information is held about them by making a subject access request. This covers information held electronically and in some paper records, and includes credit reference details.
Read the full text of the Data Protection Act 1998
The ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) website is a great source of information about the Data Protection Act.
It is the UK's independent authority set up to promote access to official data and to protect your personal information.