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Data Protection When Changing Identity

Data protection is something that we all should be aware of throughout our lives, especially when thought of in terms of your name. Our name is a crucial part of our identity and from everyday life, to official correspondence and interactions, they provide a gateway to so much more information about our lives, from our birth information, ethnicity, gender, and religion. Changing this identity, either through a name change or by changing your gender should be as straightforward as possible, to ensure that all records are kept accurate and up-to-date, but how does this work on a practical level?

How to Change Your Name for Secure and Accurate Data Classification

Once you have changed your name, an effective Identity access management system will help you make that transition in the workplace, or in multiple institutions where you are required to keep your identity up-to-date and accurate. Secure and accurate data classification is important, however, what are the steps required in order to make that change to your name or gender legally? 

Anyone can start using a new name from one day to the next legally, as long as they are not doing so in order to defraud other people or deceive them. A skip trace can be used to find individuals like this. In order to change your name on official legal documents such as your driving license or passport, you have to do so through deed poll or statutory declaration.  

It is a little bit more complex for trans people wishing to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), a process, which takes two years of living under the acquired gender before an application to legally change your name can take place. Organizations should not ask for a GRC just to change the record of a person’s gender within their system. From institution to institution it can be a very different process in order to amend the records for an individual, with inconsistency found across the board, from private to public organizations. 

Data Classification and Legal Protection During Transition of Name Change

Overall, raising awareness of the inconsistencies found in transitioning of records when a person changes their name or gender is required in order to facilitate effective change to data classification and the protection of data. The Data Protection Act 1998 covers data privacy for personal data and how this information is held within organizations’ records. What is clear is that all personal data held by an organization must be relevant and accurate. This means that all organizations must have in place an effective system for an individual to successfully amend their personal data without it causing a problem practically on a day-to-day level. 

Procedures must also be secure enough during a personal data update to ensure that any sharing of information is necessary and the process adheres to the Data Protection Act. What is required is that organizations have the right system in place so things do not go wrong. For someone changing their name or gender, any mistakes in a system could lead to distress for the individual concerned at a later date.

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