A professional code of best practice for handling personal data has been launched in London.
The Personal Data Guardianship Code (PDGC) was developed by the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Information Security Awareness Forum (ISAF).
The code is intended to help organisations and individuals understand their responsibilities in handling personal data.
The joint project is a direct response to the recent slew of high-profile breaches of personal data in the UK by organisations in the public and private sectors.
Louise Bennet, chair of the BCS Security Forum, said the PDGC is the culmination of two years' work, which highlighted the need for a practical guide on good data guardianship.
"This is the equivalent of the Highway Code for motorists. It will help all those involved in the management of personal data," she said.
David King, ISAF chairman, said the aim of the guide is to encourage a sea-change in the attitude to data and how it is handled.
"We hope that the guide will encourage people to understand their roles in this chain of activity and empower them to better understand the law and processes," he said.