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ICO’s annual report highlights GDPR and importance of digital economy

The UK’s Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has published her first annual report since taking the post in July 2016. As well as ICO’s annual operational performance statistics, the document also details the ongoing work to prepare for the introduction of the GDPR next year.

In her introduction, Denham highlighted the ICO’s work on information rights, and emphasised the importance of the digital economy:

“As the laws we regulate change, there is an opportunity for us to improve the trust that the public feel in those who process their personal data or who make information available to the public. We have launched our new Information Rights Strategic Plan that places this trust at the heart of what the Information Commissioner’s Office will do in the next four years.

“The digital economy is very important to the UK – personal data and how it is handled is central to trade and growth and studies show the digital economy is growing 30% faster than the rest of the economy. Data knows no borders.”

Internal changes within the regulator were highlighted, including the recruitment of a new Senior Leadership Team. The ICO took on two new deputy commissioners and a deputy CEO this year. The recruitment will be completed this summer, with the appointment of a new general counsel.

On the GDPR, the ICO published an overview of the regulation linking to new EU-level guidelines and more detailed ICO guidance. It also contributed to the work of the Article 29 Working Party, alongside other data protection authorities from across Europe.

The ICO said, ‘We contributed particularly heavily to guidelines on the lead supervisory authority, data protection officers and data portability. We consulted on our first detailed guidance on the GDPR covering consent. We expect to publish finalised guidance in 2017 enabling businesses and other organisations to prepare for the new standard of consent in good time.’

Denham said, “My office is preparing for the future in data protection with new processes, a comprehensive change programme and an education and guidance programme for stakeholders and the public.”

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