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 ICO has been awarded funding to provide data privacy expertise to other UK regulators to ensure rules and regulations keep pace with technologies of the future.

The £537,000 grant to the ICO will establish a Regulators’ Business and Privacy Innovation Hub this month, which will work in partnership with other regulators to provide expert support to businesses in information privacy and data protection – helping them build-in data protection by design and have the confidence to create innovative products and services.

It’s part of the £10m Regulators’ Pioneer Fund from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will fund a total of 15 unique projects run by UK regulators that will use new and emerging technologies, including AI and robotics, to drive forward innovation and improve efficiency in the public sector.

Chris Taylor, an ICO Head of Assurance, who is leading the hub project said:

“Privacy and innovation go hand in hand. The hub will reflect the ICO's own enhanced focus on innovation and desire to support business innovation and ultimately help us achieve our fundamental strategic goal which is to increase the public's trust and confidence in how their personal data is used.

“Data protection by design has been around for a long time, and although it’s now the law, it is not a barrier to innovation. We are keen for regulators to approach us and see how we can work with them to make sure businesses’ ideas can be developed while ensuring data privacy is considered at the outset and that they get that support alongside other innovations regulators are developing.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark announced the awards on 5th October.

All applicants for the fund have been invited to join a new ‘Regulators’ Innovation Network’, a group run by the Department for BEIS to encourage sharing best practice and to help forge new partnerships among regulators, Government and industry, helping to ensure the regulatory system encourages innovation and remains simple for businesses to comply with.

The Hub will work alongside the ICO’s Regulatory Sandbox a place where organisations and businesses will be supported to develop innovative products and services using personal data in different ways. The ICO is currently calling for views on this as part of a consultation.

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