ICO plots recruitment drive to boost technology unit

elizabeth-denhamNew Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham is planning a major recruitment drive to boost the regulator’s use of technology to find better solutions to modern day data protection issues.
Denham revealed the plan at the Personal Information Economy 2016 conference in London, which was her first official engagement since taking over from Christopher Graham in July.
In a wide-ranging speech, she said: “The ICO is a tech-savvy organisation, but we want to do more. We are building on our own capacity for technology by analysing more, researching more, and embedding technology into the future of the ICO. We are also seeking partnerships with universities and we aim to support research into privacy by design solutions.
“I am creating a new position of chief technology advisor to help with this, and extending the technology team by hiring new talent (if anyone’s available you can see me later).”
Denham also urged UK businesses to build a culture of data confidence so they can be held up as great examples of how privacy and technology can work for consumers.
She said: “We don’t just need you to tag along. We need you and your companies to lead the way. The ICO will do its bit by focusing our advisory, education, investigatory and enforcement work on consumer control, transparency and fairness. [But] at the end of my five year term my wish is that we are at a place where citizens and consumers have much more confidence in organisations’ use of personal data.”
In a later interview with the BBC, Denham also confirmed what many have been saying for a while, that Brexit will not mean data protection Brexit, and that the UK will have to have similar laws to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
She added: “The UK is going to want to continue to do business with Europe. In order for British businesses to share information and provide services for EU consumers, the law has to be equivalent.
“The UK was very involved in the drafting of the regulation – it will likely be in effect before the UK leaves the European Union – so I’m concerned about a start and stop regulatory environment.”

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