Discounting data

May 16, 2003

With regard to Lewis Lesley's plight at the hands of Liverpool John Moores University ("Dismissal branded as grotesque and contrived", THES, May 9), has anyone asked why the institution's records stretch back so far, in his case ten years?

Under the new provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998, which have only recently come into force, a strong case could be made to the Information Commissioner for these records to be destroyed or at the very least discounted for the purposes of this disciplinary action. It is therefore entirely feasible that any tribunal reviewing this case could also be directed to ignore them.

The university's reliance on such records is, at the very least, misguided and, given your report, it would probably be best advised to rely on something less spurious, such as wearing a loud shirt in a built-up area, to have dismissed Lesley.

Bruce Shakespeare
Oxford University Computing Services

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