Activity 17 (self-assessment) Data Protection Act (DPA)

The ICO produces lots of guidance on how the DPA should be interpreted in different situations. Follow the links below to a selection of these guidance documents and read the advice given. Once you are happy that you have understood the guidelines, consider each scenario and write a couple of sentences in response, as directed.

Scenario 1

You attend a school production and take some photographs of the children on stage. The school’s head teacher hears that you have some good photographs and contacts you to ask if they can be used on the school website. Flattered by the request, you supply three photos, which are uploaded to the website along with details of the budding performers.

Explain whether or not you have complied with the Data Protection Act.

As long as the children and/or their parents/guardians have given their permission then this would not be covered by the act, if the permission has not been sought then this would affect the act.

Scenario 2

Your mother is taken into hospital and will have to stay for several days. When you go to visit, you ask her if there is anything you can do to help. She is concerned about paying her credit card bill and asks you to contact the bank to find out what her outstanding balance is. At the end of visiting hours you leave, taking her credit card details with you. You phone the helpline number, explain the situation and request her balance.

Explain whether, within the rules of the DPA, the bank can tell you her balance.

Under the data protection act the bank would not be allowed to tell your her balance even if you have all the necessary information for them, as you could have got the information fraudulently.

Scenario 3

You work for an organisation that holds personal information about children. You have a work deadline approaching, so you decide to copy some data onto a memory stick. You will not be sharing the data with anyone else – it is for your personal use so that you can complete your work at home.

Explain whether putting this data on your memory stick complies with the DPA.

Under the DPA you if you copy information that contains personal details onto a memory stick, the DPA requires that data to still be secure, so you should password protect the files just in case you lose it. as soon as you have finished with the data, it should be destroyed immediately.

Scenario 4

You are helping a friend to sort out the estate of a recently deceased relative. One of the tasks you have taken on is to arrange cancellation of the deceased’s mobile phone contract. You contact the phone company, only to be told that they are unable to discuss customer accounts with anyone other than the customer unless previously authorised. You explain that the customer is unable to give authorisation, but they continue to state that they are unable to discuss the matter with you.

According to the DPA, is the phone company correct to withhold the information?

If the person is deceased, the DPA does not come into effect in this case and the information can be released, however the phone company will need proof that the person in question is in fact deceased. they will need a death certificate or something like that for them to release the information. If they release the information without making sure that the person in question is in fact dead, they would then be in breach of the DPA.







I haven't post on here for a while, I have been busy dong my 5th TMA which I am glad to say I have finished. I am going to read through it again over the weekend and probably submit it tomorrow evening.

I am a bit behind on block 4 Part 5, each session on this part is long, I had every intent to do a lot last night, but I had something to eat and then fell asleep on the sofa! I will continue with the studying when I get home from work today and power through the rest of this part so I can move on to Block 5.


In block 4 I am learning about virtual worlds and how they can be useful in the real world applications, such as training military people, it was a game
simulation called America's Army which as all the weapons, and strategies of real life combat situations, it is now available world wide through steam, I have downloaded it but not played it yet.

TMA 04 Marked!

TMA 04 Result


I have just had my 4th TMA marked and sent back I got 75/100 I am really pleased with this score, Shena said that if my work carries on the way it is then I will pass the module comfortably.  My assessment summary is below. This score has given me a confidence boost, and it turns out I'm not as stupid as I think I am.

It goes to show that if I apply myself I can achieve my goals, I just wish I thought of this when I was at school.

Preserving Data

In Block 3 Part 4 Session 1 and 2, I have learnt the importance of preserving data. By preserving data I don't just mean backing up my own personal files, I mean the bigger picture for preserving our digital world for many generations to see and appreciate.

Imagine if we never preserved and protected our many material historical documents and works, we never kept records of important events, such as the World Wars or kept hold of now, world famous painting such as the Mona Lisa which is in The Louvre, France which has been hanging there since 1757. The same goes with our digital data, everything is on some kind of digital medium in the 21st century, this is why it is so important to look after it.

Digital storage medium all have life spans, ZDnet made up a lifespan of such medium devices which is very interesting to see.

  • Hard Disks - 3 - 6 years (computer hard disk)
  • Magnetic tape - 10 -20 years (computer data backup)
  • Magnetic disks - 1 -5 years (floppy disks)
  • Optical Disks - 10 - 100 years (DVD)
  • Static memory - 50 - 100  years (digital camera memory card)

These results are very intriguing, of course there are other factors that need to be considered such as how the medium is stored, used and how it is looked after. I have had hard drives that are still going strong after 10 years, they are not used everyday which also keeps the hard disk in better shape which in turn will last longer.

It goes to show that static memory is the way forward and we now have solid state drives which run and access data at ridiculously fast speeds, and of course they don't have moving parts so less wear and tear and a lot less heat.


TMA03 Marked!

TMA 03 Result

I had my third TMA back from Shena today, my score was 63 I was a bit disappointed with it although I thought I might get a lower score. It seemed that I made quite a few silly mistakes, for example not reading the questions properly and referencing incorrectly. My summary is below.

I will take the feedback and hopefully learn from it



TMA02 Marked!

TMA 02 Result

I have received my second TMA marked, with a good score of 86% which is a score of 43/50. I am really pleased with this and it gives me more confidence to do well in other TMA's. I know this may sound likeI am "bigging" my self up, but I am so pleased that I have done well in this TMA, I never tried at school and always thought that I would never amount to anything.

I hope studying this module will prove me wrong.




The Four Generations of Computers

Images taken from Jaybirduk from flickr, click on the images to be taken to that page.

In TU100 I have learnt that there're 4 generations of computers, the first one being from around WW2 these are the computers which use thermionic valves, such as the Colossus which was used to break the codes by the germans.

This machine used paper tape  for data input, for the output it would send it to an electric typewriter.

The public did not know about this machine until it went on to the public domain in the 1970's, it is now an attraction at Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, the original Colossus was decommissioned at the end of the war and dismantled and destroyed, but a working replica was produced which stands in its place today.

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)Image taken from Click on the image to be taken to that page.

Another example of the first generation computers was the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) this was built by the University of Pennsylvania this also used thermionic valves the same as Colossus. This computer weighed 27 tonnes and occupied 63 square metres and was 26 metres long.

It was used to for lengthy calculations for the US Military. The ENIAC was not very user friendly like computers are today it used to take weeks and weeks to set up a program and errors could occur and then you would have to start again. You could not save your program state either and it was very unreliable, it was under repair more than it was working.

On a side note, Thermionic valves were very delicate and used to break a lot, they discovered that if you left the machine on then the valves would last longer.

IBM 608 calculator. This image was taken from

The Second generation of computers were those that used transistors, these came out in the late 1950's. These computers where still very large and still very expensive for example one of the first computers that had this transistor technology was IBM's 608 at a price of $83,000 that was a huge outlay for most companies. Most of the computers of course as I mentioned above they were large but a lot smaller than the Colossus and the ENIAC, some of these transistor based computers were about the size of wardrobes.

These new transistors were a few millimetres in diameter so they were less than a thousandth of the volume of the thermionic valve. Transistors were much cheaper to manufacture than valves and of course they were more reliable as well. the switching speeds were also much faster than that of the valves.

The third generation of computers saw rise of the integrated circuit (IC) this was also known as 'chip' or 'silicon

IBM System/360

chip' with these computers punchcards and tape were the thing of the past they were no longer used for input and output instead they had peripherals known as 'keyboards' for the input and for the output they had 'monitors' so for the out put of data they no longer needed paper printouts, also in this generation the Floppy disk was introduced, The IC was much faster in terms of processing speed than any of it's predecessors. Many minicomputers and mainframes moved onto this technology. These silicon chips were made from several components integrated onto a single chip. The IC computers were also able to talk to each other through telephone lines these were called terminals and could be distributed across the country and connected to a single shares computer.

The fourth generation of computers are basically the computers of today - the microprocessor (CPU) all computers and devices including Smart phones, tablets laptops, set top boxes, and even televisions have microprocessors, the microprocessor came out in the late 1970's, it has reduced running costs and manufacturers are able to make in large numbers. With the rise to the microprocessor, home computers were very much a reality, as these processors were cheaper to make and as I said before companies to make large amounts of them every day people started to have a personal PC in their home.

A IBM XT from the early 1980's image taken from