The legislative landscape relating to tracing has changed out of all recognition in recent years and there are questions that need to be answered before embarking on this course of action.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) there are certain criteria that must be satisfied before an investigator embarks on the tracing of an individual.

  • Purpose Test - is there a legitimate interest?

  • Necessity Test - is the processing necessary for the purpose?

  • Balancing Test - which has greater weight, the individuals rights and freedoms or the legitimate interest?

The GDPR states that:

"processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child."

Note this exemption does not apply to public bodies.

To prevent unnecessary processing of data in breach of GDPR full and concise instructions are required before actions are taken by the investigator

Examples of information useful to an investigation include the reason for the investigation, full name, D.O.B. last known addresses, all known telephone numbers and email addresses, photographs of the individual to be traced and a list of known family members as well as any known interests, clubs etc.

Investigation methods must be proportionate, reasonable, justified and un-intrusive and within the principles of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), which incorporates the GDPR.

Having said all this, we have trained investigators with powerful tools and techniques at our disposal and decades of experience. As long as you the client can meet the above criteria we will do our best within the legislative requirements to bring any trace instructions to a satisfactory conclusion.