What is Data Disclosure?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Data disclosure is the voluntary sharing of any and all information that is considered relevant to a given situation. Disclosure of this type varies, depending on the specific circumstances of the situation. In some cases, disclosure of certain types of information is not required under the terms of prevailing laws and regulations. At other times, failure to engage in proper data disclosure can lead to serious ramifications.

The process of data disclosure takes place during an attempt to secure employment with a business. As part of the application process, the potential employee readily provides the information or data that is requested by the employer, often on a formal application document. Failure to provide accurate and complete data often leads to the automatic rejection of the application, and ends the opportunity for employment.


In many countries, certain types of data disclosure are not considered necessary under the law. In fact, an employer may be strictly forbidden from attempting to secure data on potential and existing employees such as religious preference or sexual orientation. Depending on the position that is involved, the employer may be empowered to conduct background checks involving issues as past criminal histories or current credit ratings. When this is the case, it is often necessary for the applicant to grant the employer permission to conduct those investigations, usually by signing a permission form or initialing a section of the application. Most countries have enacted specific laws that govern what type of data disclosure can and cannot be requested or obtained when it comes to employment situations.

Data disclosure also takes place in other situations. Public officials are expected to share certain data with their constituents. Within a company situation, data disclosure in regard to finances, marketing strategies, or products in development is often limited to individuals who are authorized to receive information of this kind. With investing activity, data disclosure is often necessary in order to comply with disclosure regulations put in place by a government or an agency that oversees the operation of investment markets within a given country. For example, anyone involved with the investing process in the United States is likely to comply with provisions put in place by the National Association of Securities Dealers.

Failure to comply with data disclosure requirements can have dire consequences. Employees and others who intentionally provided false data are considered guilty of disclosure fraud. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the fraud, employment may be terminated and criminal charges filed. This can lead to the imposition of fines or even the possibility of imprisonment.


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