Your right to access information held about you

As well as having the right to know generally that data about you is being collected or used, you have a right to see exactly what personal data is held.

If the request is made using electronic means, such as by text message, e-mail message or through a website, the response should be in a commonly used electronic format.

Often organisations that collect or use your data online will make available a secure area of their website where you can view that information.

Free, reasonable access

You are entitled to a copy of the information free of charge. However, if the request is unfounded or excessive, a reasonable fee can be charged to collect or organise it. If you ask for the same information many times over a short time period, again, a fee can be charged.

Any fee must reflect the cost of providing the information.

The principle is that while you have a right to see the information held about you for free, the organisation that holds it should not pay excessive costs.

Access within a reasonable timeframe

Generally, information must be provided without delay and at the latest within one month of receipt of your request for it.

If your requests are complex or numerous, the organisation can do two things.

It might need to delay sending you the information by up to an additional two months. This might happen because you have requested a large volume of information, or information that is stored somewhere from which it takes time to retrieve.

If the organisation does want to extend the deadline for provision, it must tell you of its intention within one month of receiving your request and explain why the extension is necessary.

Alternatively, it can refuse to give you the information altogether.

If it does refuse to give it to you, instead it must explain the grounds for not doing so, and remind you of your right to complain to a supervisory authority if you don’t agree. It must do this within a month.