Our increasingly digital society and economy are built on trillions of uses and exchanges of personal and public information every day.
Information can drive everything in our lives: from our healthcare to our job opportunities, or the decisions made for and about us. Upholding our information rights and seizing the opportunities of innovative information use has therefore never been more important.
Information rights isn’t about processing and protecting data. It’s about people - relationships, trust, equality, democracy and dignity. Organisations play a crucial role in shaping our attitudes to information use. We need to trust that our information rights will be respected if we are to confidently use the products and services provided by organisations which power our economy and society.
The ICO exists to empower you through information:
- We empower you as a member of the public to confidently contribute to a thriving society and sustainable economy.
- We empower your organisation to confidently plan, invest, innovate and grow.
- We empower you by promoting openness and transparency by public bodies.
- We empower you to hold us to account for the difference we make when enforcing the laws we oversee.
As a whole economy regulator, including of Government and the public sector, we enable all businesses and organisations to plan and invest in the use of information responsibly. We do this by providing certainty on what the law requires, what represents good practice and our approach as the regulator.
We proactively identify trends around new uses of personal information. We scan the horizon and work with others, so we can anticipate issues and intervene early to prevent harms and support data-driven innovation. In engaging with issues and supporting organisations in this way, we enable innovation and protect people.
We take pride in our ability to simplify and lower the cost of compliance with the law, showing that it can be a ‘how to’, not a ‘don’t do’. We meet the needs of the UK’s diverse society and business community by turning complex laws into services and support that are practical, understandable and relevant to everyday lives.
We enforce the laws we are responsible for through a variety of enabling and dissuasive regulatory interventions. These range from providing guidance and tools to signal clear expectations and to empower responsible information use, through to issuing enforcement notices and monetary penalties, where it is necessary to do so. We intervene proportionately, clearly and only where needed. Our interventions aim to create a fairer playing field for compliant organisations and to protect people.