UK data watchdog draws up plans for 'data protection by design'

The ICO will also retrain its own staff in AI and big data as part of its new technology strategy

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) plans to create a "regulatory sandbox" as part of its first ever technology strategy to help organisations build adequate data protection into their products before they are released.

The scheme forms part of the UK data watchdog's wider Technology Strategy, announced yesterday, which outlines eight priorities for the regulator between now and 2021, including educating both businesses and the public on emerging technologies such as AI and big data.

Advertisement - Article continues below

One of those goals will be the creation of a sandbox that provides a means for organisations to test products and services they produce against the regulatory requirements enforced by the EU's incoming General Data Protection Regulation. The ICO hopes this will allow for "data protection by design", where adequate safeguards can be baked into a product as it's being created.

The sandbox will draw upon an existing model that was deployed by the Financial Conduct Authority in 2016, which allows companies to test products, services, business models, and delivery mechanisms in a controlled environment to ensure consumer protections are in place.

Consultations with the tech industry on the creation of the sandbox are expected to begin later in the year.

The regulator also plans to tackle a lack of internal expertise in fields proving to be the most disruptive for businesses, with it committing to reskill and retrain its own employees. Specifically, the ICO wants to develop a better understanding of areas such as cyber security, artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, and IoT.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

This will partly be remedied through the creation of technology apprenticeships at the ICO in partnership with UK universities, and by engaging with tech-focused professional bodies, academics, and industry and public sector networks, according to the regulator.

As part of this initiative, the ICO will create a two-year postdoctoral role looking at the effect of AI on data privacy. It will also establish an annual ICO conference on Data Protection and Technology to help showcase industry innovations, and a "panel of forensic investigators" that will support current regulatory investigations.

The 2018-21 strategy is underpinned by the idea that new technologies should not come at the expense of data protection and privacy rights, according to information commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

"Staying relevant in the context of ever changing technology must become a core component of the ICO's strategic goals, otherwise the ICO will fail to deliver the regulatory outcomes the public expect," said Denham.

The Technology Strategy will support an existing four-year Information Rights Strategic Plan announced in 2017 - an effort to increase public trust in government, public bodies and the private sector when it comes to user data.

Image: Shutterstock

Featured Resources

Top 5 challenges of migrating applications to the cloud

Explore how VMware Cloud on AWS helps to address common cloud migration challenges

Download now

3 reasons why now is the time to rethink your network

Changing requirements call for new solutions

Download now

All-flash buyer’s guide

Tips for evaluating Solid-State Arrays

Download now

Enabling enterprise machine and deep learning with intelligent storage

The power of AI can only be realised through efficient and performant delivery of data

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/technology/artificial-intelligence-ai/354766/mit-develops-ai-tech-to-edit-outdated-wikipedia
artificial intelligence (AI)

MIT develops AI tech to edit outdated Wikipedia articles

13 Feb 2020

Most Popular

Visit/infrastructure/server-storage/355118/hpe-warns-of-critical-bug-that-destroys-ssds-after-40000-hours
Server & storage

HPE warns of 'critical' bug that destroys SSDs after 40,000 hours

26 Mar 2020
Visit/software/355113/companies-offering-free-software-to-fight-covid-19
Software

These are the companies offering free software during the coronavirus crisis

25 Mar 2020
Visit/software/video-conferencing/355138/zoom-beaming-ios-user-data-to-facebook-for-targeted-ads
video conferencing

Zoom beams iOS user data to Facebook for targeted ads

27 Mar 2020
Visit/cloud/355098/ibm-dedicates-supercomputing-power-to-coronavirus-researchers
high-performance computing (HPC)

IBM dedicates supercomputing power to coronavirus research

24 Mar 2020