Neurotechnologies have continued to proliferate in the health and research sector over the past decade and may soon become part of our daily life. Our workplaces, home entertainment and wellbeing services may use neurotechnology to provide more personalised services in the years to come.
As the UK’s data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) seeks to foster trust in how organisations process personal information. We want to empower people to safely share their information and use the products and services that will drive our economy and our society.
In our ICO25 strategy, we committed to set out our views on emerging technologies to reduce burdens on businesses, support innovation and prevent harms. These technologies advertise significant opportunities to make our lives easier, safer, more comfortable, efficient and fun; they also present a range of risks that may harm people’s privacy and their trust in these technologies, if they are not addressed as the technology develops.
Our first annual Tech Horizons Report examines the implications of some of the most significant technological developments for privacy in the next two to five years. This includes consumer healthtech, next generation IoT, immersive technologies and decentralised finance.
Further information is available in the report below which has been published to support organisations exploring the use of these emerging technologies.
The ICO has been working to find out more about some aspects of biometrics, to inform future work.
The ICO are often asked about end-to-end encryption (E2EE), this is a complex topic and to help people consider the issues we publish this paper setting out a framework for considering the impact of endto-end encryption on online safety.
In November 2018 the ICO set up the Regulators’ Business Innovation Privacy Hub (the Innovation Hub). The Innovation Hub was set up to collaborate with other regulators, offering data protection expertise to a greater breadth of innovative businesses.
On 28 August 2020, the ICO published a project report, reflecting on the Innovation Hub's successes.
Project ExplAIn is a collaboration between the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and The Alan Turing Institute (The Turing) to create practical guidance to assist organisations with explaining artificial intelligence (AI) decisions to the individuals affected.
As part of this project, the ICO and The Turing conducted public and industry engagement research. This helped us understand different points of view on this complex topic.
This report sets out the methodology and findings of this research. Key
- the relevance of context for the importance, purpose and
expectations of explanations;
- the need for improved education and awareness around the use of
AI for decision-making; and
- challenges to deploying explainable AI such as cost and the pace of
The possible interpretations of these findings and their implications for the development of the guidance are discussed, including:
- the lack of a one-size-fits-all approach to explanations, including the potential for a list of explanation types to support organisations in making appropriate choices;
- the need for board-level buy-in on explaining AI decisions; and
- the value of a standardised approach to internal accountability to help assign responsibility for explainable AI decision-systems and foster an organisational culture of responsible innovation.
We acknowledge the limitations of the research, and a conclusion summarises the findings, setting out their value to the project and beyond.
The report ends with next steps for the project, including a summary of the planned guidance.
The ICO and The Turing gratefully acknowledge the support and input given to this project by Citizens’ Juries c.i.c., the Jefferson Center, the Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, techUK, and all the industry representatives and members of the public that took part in our engagement.
Summary report of adtech Fact Finding Forum, held 6 March 2019
ICO Adtech Market Research Report
Adtech is an area that has evolved and grown rapidly in recent years and is underpinned by advertising technology (adtech), allowing advertisers to compete for available digital advertising space in milliseconds, placing billions of online adverts on webpages and apps in the UK every day by automated means.
Our work on adtech
In February 2019 the ICO launched a review of Real-Time Bidding (RTB) due to its complexity and scale, the risks posed to the rights and freedoms of individuals and the complaints the ICO has received.
It is an area that has evolved and grown rapidly in recent years and is underpinned by advertising technology (adtech), allowing advertisers to compete for available digital advertising space in milliseconds, placing billions of online adverts on webpages and apps in the UK every day by automated means.