Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has signed off his tenure by hailing the work of the ICO over the past 12 months as a “real achievement”.
Graham steps down today after seven years in office and will be succeeded by Information & Privacy Commissioner in British Columbia, Canada, Elizabeth Denham.
He said: “We have delivered on our objectives, responding to new challenges, and preparing for big changes, particularly in the data protection and privacy field.”
Graham highlighted the fact that during the past year changes in the rules on nuisance marketing meant the ICO was able to issue fines totalling more than £2m; how the organisation offered “expert advice” to many parliamentary committees, including the Burns Commission and its review of freedom of information law, and began preparing for new data protection reforms.
He added: “The ICO has had to respond effectively to the unexpected. Big data breaches such as that at Talk Talk. Acting on newspaper allegations about charity fundraising methods that breached data protection and privacy law. Taking part in the debate on surveillance and security and the Investigatory Powers Bill. And, in its responses following the Schrems Judgment, with all the implications for transatlantic data flows, the ICO’s influential counsel has helped to avert a meltdown.
“The credit for another year of high performance is shared by staff at every level of the organisation and I should like to thank everyone at the ICO for what they have done to contribute to this result.
“After seven exciting and eventful years as Information Commissioner I am confident that I am handing to my successor an organisation that is in good shape and good heart, and ready for the changes and challenges ahead,” he said. “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve in the role at such an interesting and demanding time for information rights.”
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