The Big Data, AI, Machine Learning and Data Protection report by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been crowned winner of a Global Privacy and Data Protection Award.

The winning entries were announced at the 39th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) in Hong Kong today. The ICO’s report topped the votes for the People’s Choice Award.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said:

“I am delighted that our work to pull back the curtain on big data, AI and machine learning has been recognised at an international level.

“The use of big data has implications for privacy, data protection and the associated rights of individuals. However implications are not barriers – it is not a case of big data ‘or’ data protection.”

She added:

“This award is testament to the hard work of my staff back in the UK, and we’ll be continuing to learn, engage, educate and influence in the fast-moving world of big data, machine learning and AI.”

As well as winning the People’s Choice Award, the ICO was also first runner up in the Dispute Resolution, Compliance and Enforcement category for its data protection toolkit for SMEs.

The ICDPPC has been the leading global forum for privacy authorities since meeting in Bonn, Germany in 1979. The conference seeks to provide leadership at international level in data protection and privacy and links 119 data protection authorities from across the world.

The inaugural awards attracted 90 entries from data protection and privacy authorities around the world. They were established to create a way for authorities to share some of their successful initiatives from the previous year.

The other overall winner at the awards was a joint investigation into the Ashley Madison breach, which took the Chair’s Grand Award for Innovation. The investigation involved three privacy authorities: the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the United States Federal Trade Commission and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law which will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The Government has confirmed the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR. The Government is introducing measures related to this and wider data protection reforms in a Data Protection Bill.
  5. 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.
  6. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
  7. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  8. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.