Information Commissioner Christopher Graham is relishing the prospect of another two years in the role – after the Ministry of Justice revealed an extension to his contract until at least 2016 – but stresses he does not “under-estimate the challenge”.
Graham has been heading up the ICO since 2009, succeeding Richard Thomas. And during that time he has overseen huge changes to the ICO’s powers as well as the soaring important of data and privacy.
He has plenty of things on his “to-do” list – top of the pile will be the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation, which if passed in its current form will pile even greater pressure on his office.
Graham is also in the middle of a fight to gain more powers in the war about against nuisance calls and texts, although Parliament seems at last to have recognised that the law must be changed to slash the complaints threshold.
The Commissioner will also want to persuade MPs to tighten up legislation on data theft, or so-called “scamming”. Currently those found guilty can escape with little more than a slap on the wrist and a tiny fine. Graham has been demanding tougher sanctions for years, including the threat of prison sentences.
Graham said: “I am delighted to have been asked to stay on as Commissioner at this key moment for information rights. I don’t underestimate the challenge of leading the ICO at this time. Like any public body we’re having to do more for less.
“But unlike any other public body that I know, it falls to the ICO to champion both the right to privacy and the right to know for citizens and consumers – here in the UK, in Europe, and internationally. It’s a big responsibility and the next phase certainly won’t be dull.”
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