Data Protection Conference 2013

This week the Information Commissioner’s Office held their annual Data Protection conference, setting out their corporate plans for the next three years.

Introducing the conference Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner said:

“An old Chinese curse says ‘may you live in interesting times’. Ladies and gentlemen, we are condemned to live in interesting times. Data protection is centre stage, with data driving so much of what we all do and how we all do it. In Europe, the greatest reform to data protection law in two decades is in prospect, while at home Lord Justice Leveson’s report on media standards signals more change still. This conference can rarely have fallen at such a decisive moment for the data protection sector.

The conference gathered together 800 data protection officers in Manchester and the keynote speaker was none other than European Commission’s Françoise Le Bail, who spoke about the data protection landscape in the EU.

The key themes of information security, data protection and information rights are applicable to every organisation and every individual. As the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights, the ICO is at the forefront of supporting these themes.

There was a lot to digest from the conference but some of the key talking points included:

  • Deputy Commissioner David Smith stating the ICO is “strongly against division of public and private sectors” in reference to EU data protection and privacy regulation reform.
  • Francoise Le Bail says fines of 2% of turnover are justified (for data breach), but should be proportional to the breach
  • ICO commissioner stating ICO aims remain unchanged upholding information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals
  • A political agreement this year would mean a new EU data regulatory framework would be up and running by 2016
  • ICO highlighted funding challenges over the next 3 years, especially if the proposed new EU data directive goes ahead

So nothing ground breaking coming out of the conference, but plenty simmering underneath. As the Information Commissioner said in his opening address, these are indeed very interesting and challenging times. It’s a case of watch this space…

Read all about the Conference on the ICO’s Official Website >>>