Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has today told businesses there’s no time to delay in preparing for “the biggest change to data protection law for a generation”.

Speaking in a video addressing boardrooms, Ms Denham calls on businesses to see the commercial benefits of sound data protection, and act now to ensure they’re compliant by 25 May 2018:

“If your organisation can’t demonstrate that good data protection is a cornerstone of your business policy and practices, you’re leaving your organisation open to enforcement action that can damage both public reputation and bank balance. But there’s a carrot here as well as a stick: get data protection right, and you can see a real business benefit.”

Also marking one year until GDPR is implemented:

  • Elizabeth Denham is speaking to business leaders about the importance of cybersecurity at a Wall Street Journal event.
  • Deputy Commissioner Rob Luke is looking at GDPR and the digital economy at a Tech UK event.
  • An updated data protection toolkit for SMEs goes live on the ICO website, including a new element focussed on getting ready for GDPR. The checklist can help organisations assess their progress in preparing for GDPR.
  • The ICO launches its Information Rights Strategic Plan, setting out its mission statement to increase public trust over the next four years.
  • The 12 steps to take to prepare for GDPR is relaunched, with updated guidance and increased focus on the need to act now to prepare for May 2018.

 

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  1. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  1. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.
  1. 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. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  1. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:
  • fairly and lawfully processed;
  • processed for limited purposes;
  • adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  • accurate and up to date;
  • not kept for longer than is necessary;
  • processed in line with your rights;
  • secure; and
  • not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.
  1. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications.

There are specific rules on:

  • marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
  • cookies (and similar technologies);
  • keeping communications services secure; and
  • customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.

We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.

  1. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.