The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

Anonymisation

What is anonymisation?

Anonymisation is the process of turning data into a form which does not identify individuals and where identification is not likely to take place. This allows for a much wider use of the information. The Data Protection Act controls how organisations use ‘personal data’ – that is, information which allows individuals to be identified.

Anonymisation: managing data protection risk code of practice

Organisations are increasingly reliant on anonymisation techniques to enable wider use of personal data. The code of practice explains the issues surrounding the anonymisation of personal data, and the disclosure of data once it has been anonymised. The code describes the steps an organisation can take to ensure that anonymisation is conducted effectively, while retaining useful data.

The code will be useful to any organisation which wants to turn personal data into anonymised information for research or other data analysis purposes.

Anonymisation: managing data protection risk code of practice (pdf)

We've also produced a summary of the code (pdf) and a summary of the points raised during the consultation on the draft code (pdf).

Here's the ICO's Iain Bourne talking about the code. (NB: playing YouTube videos sets a cookie)

And over on our blog the ICO's Head of Policy Steve Wood talks about anonymisation - opportunities and risks.

Anonymisation network

The ICO is supporting the establishment of a network for practitioners to discuss issues relating to anonymisation, and share best practice. The UK Anonymisation Network (UKAN) is co-ordinated by the University of Manchester, the University of Southampton, the Open Data Institute, and the Office for National Statistics.

UK Anonymisation Network (UKAN) website