Information Commissioner’s Office publishes first-ever International Strategy document

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published its first-ever International Strategy document to help the organisation meet overseas data protection challenges, including those posed by increased globalism, changing technology, the EU’s forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation and Brexit.

The detailed strategy aims to enhance privacy protection for members of the public here in the UK, no matter from where in the world potential threats and risks might emanate. The document also commits the ICO to learning about new ideas and developments emerging from other countries.

Commenting on this development, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “There’s little doubt that there are challenging times ahead, but we’re well placed to tackle them. We have a powerful voice and it’s heard around the world. We are also excellent listeners. That’s our strength.”

Denham continued: “This blueprint for how we’ll deliver on our international objectives has been informed and underpinned by comments from experts from all over the world who challenged our perceived priorities and advised on what our next steps should be.”

Major international concerns

The ICO’s strategy sets out what the organisation sees as its main international concerns over the next four years:

*To operate as an effective and influential data protection authority at a European level while the UK remains a member of the EU and when the UK has left the EU (or during any transitional period)

*Maximising the ICO’s relevance and delivery against its objectives in what’s now an increasingly globalised world with the rapid growth of online technologies as its backdrop

*Ensuring that UK data protection law and practice is a benchmark for high global standards

*Addressing the uncertainty of the legal protections for international data flows both to and from the EU (and beyond), including adequacy

Denham added: “These challenges are opportunities. A chance to give people back control of their own data. It all comes back to consumers. The citizens.”

In addition to setting out priority actions and strategies for meeting the challenges identified, the document also states how the ICO’s internal structure and resourcing will reflect an enhanced global dimension.

The International Strategy complements the key goals of the ICO’s new Information Rights Strategic Plan, which include increasing the public’s trust and confidence in how data is used and shared, remaining relevant by keeping abreast of evolving technology and improving standards through clear and targeted engagement and influence, both here on home shores and abroad.

The ICO’s strategy runs until 2021. However, recognising that the organisation needs to be agile in an ever-changing world, the document will be regularly reviewed and updated in response to any new challenges and opportunities.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014.

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