The current Data Protection Act principles in place and effect in the United Kingdom provide for the security and general inaccessibility of personal information pertaining to U.K. citizens and residents, and as such can first be traced back to the Data Protection Act 1984. That being said, the present state in which the Data Protection Act principles are held and maintained by the U.K. government have more to do with the later legislation which was put into effect in 1998 and, later, in 2003.
The Data Protection Act 1984 did play a constructive part in the general debate and discussion over this area of the law, establishing such Data Protection Act principles as the responsibility of the custodians of information placed in electronic form to prevent general access to such data as might occur with the knowledge or consent, and accordingly against the wishes, of the people to whom the information pertains. For such reasons, Parliament under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decided to enact the law comprising the Data Protection Act 1984.
Soon thereafter, another piece of legislation followed the Data Protection Act 1984, one also pertaining to the importance of Data Protection Act principles, referred to as the Access to Personal Files Act 1987. The need for change to the Data Protection Act 1984, and to its aforementioned supporting pillar for Data Protection Act principles, derived from the passage of the European Data Protection Directive. According to the strengthened Data Protection Act principles thus mandated, the Data Protection Act 1984 was accordingly strengthened.