Information Commissioner launches consultation focused on draft statutory guidance

THE INFORMATION Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a public consultation on its draft statutory guidance, which itself details how the organisation will regulate and enforce data protection legislation in the UK.

Supporting the ICO’s primary responsibility of ensuring compliance with the law, the document explains the ICO’s powers, when it will use them and how it calculates fines.

The ICO is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and information rights law, upholding information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and also data privacy for individuals.

The ICO has specific responsibilities as set out in the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

Designed to ensure that the rights and freedoms of individuals are protected, the draft guidance also seeks to provide assurance to business that the ICO will use its powers both proportionately and consistently.

Protecting rights and freedoms

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham (pictured) commented: “The primary role of the ICO is to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals in the digital age. This draft guidance explains how my office will achieve that goal. It sets out our proportionate approach towards regulatory action and also details the robust action we will take against those that flout the law.”

A requirement of the Data Protection Act 2018, the draft statutory guidance explains how the ICO will exercise its regulatory functions when issuing information notices, assessment notices, enforcement notices and penalty notices. It sits alongside the Regulatory Action Policy (RAP) which details how the ICO regulates the other pieces of legislation it covers. The RAP itself is currently under review.

The consultation will remain open until 5.00 pm on Thursday 12 November.

For its part, the ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit.

*Those individuals wishing to voice their opinions and respond to the consultation can do so by accessing the ICO’s website

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