The ICO’s technology team deals with some of the most complex privacy, data rights, data protection and emerging technology issues that society faces.
The aim of the group is to make sure the ICO can assess and respond to these developments, and most importantly, to shape the future privacy, data and technology landscape.
We are expanding the team and looking for experts in a range of fields. If you are interested in one of the following areas we are working in then please send a CV and Cover Letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why should I work for the ICO’s technology department?
The ICO is 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. The work of the office is varied and includes influencing information rights policy, writing guidance, enforcing the law and offering advice to organisations and the general public.
The Technology Policy group is involved in all aspects of work across the organisation. It is central to monitoring and understanding the emerging technology landscape and ensuring information rights regulation keeps pace with technological advancements. It engages with influential stakeholders within the digital economy, Government, civil society and the academic world. It also develops policy and practical initiatives that help protect the public. The group’s work is high-impact, complex, and at the frontier of advanced technology and policy development.
The group works on issues such as:
Artificial Intelligence (AI), algorithmic systems, machine learning (ML) data science: Exploring technical advancements and ways of embedding privacy by design into the next generation of AI systems. We have a particular focus and objective to develop tools to address systemic issues related to bias and discrimination. Our work drives forward responsible, ethical and fair AI development. Alongside this we are also shaping the regulation of AI, and building mechanisms for increased accountability and transparency in its use. Our landmark Project ExplAIn and the AI Auditing Framework are some of the most advanced privacy guidance reports on the use of AI and personal data that have been produced.
Privacy-preserving data sharing: Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the ability to gather and share data was critical for those responding to the pandemic. Our team has provided privacy orientated design guidelines to the teams developing contact-tracing apps, and undertaken assessments of Apple and Google exposure notification developments. We have also explored leading edge techniques for sharing and analysing data without compromising the privacy of individuals – by assessing the efficacy of private set intersection, or the use of multi-party computation and differential privacy. We will be continuing this work to produce advice and guidance on anonymisation, as well as explore the role of privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) such as homomorphic encryption and multi-party computation.
Online tracking and surveillance: During 2019 the team researched and assessed the nature of online tracking and surveillance taking place in the adtech real time bidding ecosystem. This highly complex ecosystem analysis identified a range of data protection and privacy issues. The work was paused during 2020 due to the pandemic, however this has now resumed and the ICO supervision division is investigating. Online tracking, surveillance and manipulation underpinned by evolving technologies and techniques continues to be a key area for further work.
What skills do I need?
We are happy to hear from anyone who has skills and experience they believe could add value to the work of the group. We are particularly interested in hearing from people with a background in the following areas:
We are looking for technical experts with experience in online tracking and surveillance technologies. You may have previously worked as an engineer, developer or product manager. You will know about current approaches using cookies or similar tracking technologies, but you will also be exploring the future of tracking and surveillance online. You will be passionate in wanting to address some of the negative aspects of the use of these techniques and technologies.
AI and ML
We are significantly growing our AI and data science function. The role of AI and data science at the ICO will be unique. Simultaneously the group will be tasked with enhancing our ability to undertake of organisations that we may audit or investigate, while promoting tools to support the development of privacy-promoting AI and data-driven technologies . At the heart of the team’s mission will be the aim of embedding principles of responsible and ethical use of AI and data into practical guidance and support for practitioners, playing our part in nurturing innovation-enabling regulation.
We are seeking experts in machine learning and other probabilistic computing techniques, and the role these developments play in society. You will have worked as a data scientist and built data science teams, or perhaps your skill is in data engineering and model management. You might be working on the frontiers of AI research exploring federated ML, privacy-preserving ML, or exploring areas of high value to industry but also serious concern such as large language models, or models such as GPT-3.
You may have previously worked on the development of AI policy, ethics or law and understand the societal consequences arising from the development and use of AI technologies. You will be an expert of responsible and ethical AI engineering or policy with a passion of turning policy into practice. You will be focused on helping shape the future of AI developments to better respect and uphold the rights of citizens.
We are looking for UX and HCI specialists, data engineers and product specialists with a background in designing full stack services for children or young adults. We want to hear from people with experience of creating intuitive and user-friendly software, collaborating with designers and developers. Individuals with expertise in research or design, or knowledge of the behavioural or psychological impact of service design. You must be passionate about ensuring online services are designed with the best interests of children at their core.
Join our Technology Advisory Panel (TAP)
Our group also chairs the ICO Technology Advisory Panel (TAP). The TAP ensures that the Commissioner receives expert advice and strategic insight into emerging technologies and issues. The panel consists of a small number of industrial and academic professionals and ICO staff. It considers and advises the ICO on the impact of various technologies and techniques on privacy and information rights, such as cyber security, AI, and behavioural modelling.
We are expanding the TAP to broaden our thinking into the wider landscapes where data plays a central part – including socioeconomics, behavioural analysis, and the ongoing impact of Covid-19.
Are you conversant with the role that emerging technology plays in how our privacy and human rights are protected?
Do you have expertise in data science, machine learning, surveillance technologies, human-centric design, economics, behavioural analysis and social engineering.
Could you advise the ICO on important and complex challenges which impact on individuals and society in an increasingly data-driven world?
The role TAP meets four times a year. There may be circumstances in which panel members are asked to undertake additional research on behalf of the ICO and the panel. Appointment to the panel is for a two-year term with scope for re-appointment.
Your background We are seeking panel members from a diverse range of backgrounds. You might primarily be an expert in behavioural analysis and social engineering, or ethics and technology law, whilst also understanding the privacy implications of emerging technologies.
How do I apply?
To express interest in working for the ICO's Technology department, please email a copy of your CV to email@example.com and briefly outline the area that you are interested in.
If opportunities are not available straight away, if you are happy for us to, we’ll keep your details on file for up to six months and contact you if suitable positions arise in the future.
Please note that where there are specific vacancies advertised below, the application process will be set out by clicking on the links for those jobs. Either an application form will be completed, or a CV uploaded in our applicant tracking system along with our completed equal opportunities form.