Padlock securing a data cable

ICO Information Rights Strategic Plan

With GDPR just seven months away, consumers are less concerned about the exact details, or what kind of legislation may follow it. The burning questions seem to be whether their data is properly protected, who will be holding businesses accountable, and what privacy rights they possess.

As a regulator of all of this, the ICO needs to be consistent and continuous when it comes to giving relevant information: ie, listening to the concerns of the consumer and being able to provide answers. Seeing the impending changes brought about by GDPR as a powerful opportunity to have a positive and direct impact on public trust, the ICO have issued a new Information Rights Strategic Plan. Rather than being about procedures, policies, or paperwork, it focuses more on how businesses can make a difference to the trust people have in what happens to their personal data.

 

For anyone engaging in the digital economy, trust in data flow is essential; from the perspective of both privacy and Freedom of Information – all of which are dependent on a transparent approach to information management. The Information Rights Strategic Plan sets out to increase the public’s confidence in the government and public bodies, as well as the private sector. We’ve drawn out some of the key points that as a business owner or data processor, are most relevant to you. These points are what you should be looking to align with when considering your approach to GDPR:

 

Remain transparent at all times to increase trust in how data is used

The public should be easily able to influence and discover how their personal data is being used. With this in mind, the ICO will help the public understand what to expect from businesses responsible for personal data and public information. They will also ensure those responsible have all the support they need to understand what transparency means, and how to implement this into their business.

The public should have simple, straightforward access to information on data processing. The highest standards of transparency will be offered when it comes to processing that has a serious impact on public lives. Everyone should be able to see, correct, and challenge personal records, particularly those that contain sensitive details.

The promotion of transparency when it comes to digital processing will also be a chief focus – including the use of artificial intelligence, big data, or where practices could pose a risk to public trust if opaque or invisible.

 

Keep abreast of evolving technology

Technological advancements and innovations coupled with the availability and rapid growth of data have the potential to ease and enhance and ease the lives of both the public and organisations; from a social and economic perspective. This is heightened by the continued availability of data, as well as data from new sources such as the Internet of Things.

This is a great opportunity for privacy enhancing techniques and tools to be built in by design. Along with advances in technology we can promote data protection good practice, to become an essential aid to effective innovation. While the use of AI, machine learning, and big data may have significant implications for privacy and data protection, we should ensure these considerations are absolutely integral to the use of this kind of technology.

 

Padlock securing a data cable

 

Look Out for Regulatory Action Policy

The ICO will be producing a new Regulatory Action Policy, prepared as part of their preparations for the forthcoming EU data protection reform. It will be laid before Parliament in 2018 and will increase powers in the ways which target the most serious areas of non-compliance.

Information gathered from the public will be used to identify areas of poor practice or non- compliance. From this, regulatory action will be and use all of the powers and tools available will help the ICO improve best practice. A focus on lead generation will ensure bsuinesses are lawfully compliant, with tools provided to the public to enable them to report nuisance calls easily and quickly.

To make sure your data processing promotes transparency and best practice at all times, contact us today.

 

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