SIS archive and records policy

Data Protection Act

SIS, like the other intelligence and security agencies, is subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Personal information is exempt from many of the operative provisions of the Data Protection Act if an exemption is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding national security. The requirement for the application of exemptions under the DPA is considered on a case by case basis by SIS.

Public Records Act 1958 and Implications

The Public Records Act of 1958 places a legal obligation on government bodies to transfer records to The National Archives. The intelligence and security agencies all have a blanket exemption from this obligation for reasons of national security.

The Security Service and GCHQ have placed some of their records in The National Archives. Because of the importance of protecting the identity of our sources, SIS maintains a policy of not releasing its records into the public domain. It is Service policy not to disclose the identities of individuals working for or cooperating with us.

SIS has reviewed the records of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) of WWII prior to their transfer to The National Archives. We also cooperate with other departments to review and security-edit records which refer to SIS before they are placed in The National Archives.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 and its implications

SIS, like the other intelligence and security agencies and some other public authorities, is outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.