The ICO exists to empower you through information.

This is a fast, direct service for organisations doing new or innovative things with personal data. We give advice to help solve the data protection issues holding up the progress of your new product, service, or business model.

Ask your question

For information about what we do with personal data, see our privacy notice.

Who can use this service?

You can use this service if your organisation is planning to use the personal data of people in the UK, to drive a new or innovative product, service, or business model that is not currently live.

The service is available to organisations of any size, in any sector.

You can ask a question at any point in the planning of your project. However, we may prioritise questions where our response has the greatest potential to influence your thinking and planning, or where it could be helpful to lots of other organisations.

What can I ask?

Your question must be about specific aspects of your new or innovative use of data. We will not accept questions that are vague or generic.

For example, we would accept:

My business is looking into using a deep learning AI solution, offered by a third party supplier to provide new services to our customers.  The third party supplier may share the personal data collected for our purposes to optimise the AI model.

Are providers of deep learning AI solutions considered processors or controllers?

We want to implement a biometric system for taking lunch payments in schools. Is consent an appropriate lawful basis for processing this personal data?

We would not accept:

 We are looking to offer an AI led service for our customers. What do I need to do to be compliant with the law?

We want to implement a biometric system for taking lunch payments in schools. What is the ICO's position on this?

We have published all previously asked questions.

What do you mean by innovation?

When we say innovation we mean – a new or significantly adapted way of using personal data.

This could include the development of new services or products, or creating efficiencies in how these are delivered.

For example, the use of new technologies when offering an enhanced service to customer or using novel ways to increase efficiencies with your staff. It might include the use of:

    • artificial intelligence or machine learning;
    • biometric or genetic data; or
    • privacy enhancing technologies.

How long till I get a response and what will it include?

We will contact you in no more than three working days to confirm we have correctly understood your question.

Once you have responded to us, we aim to answer your question in 10 to 15 working days. 

You’ll be given a clear answer to your question that gives you clarity about what the law requires.

Please note: The answer you get is informal advice on the regulatory requirements for your new product, service or business model. It is not legally binding.

We cannot give public or commercial endorsement, or certification that your product, service or business model is compliant with the law.

Can I view previously asked questions?

We publish anonymised versions of all questions and answers.

We have so far had questions about deep learning AI solutions and smart city technology.

You might also be interested in...


Regulatory Sandbox

A service developed to support organisations creating products and services that utilise personal data in innovative and safe ways.


Data protection impact assessments (DPIA)

You must consult the ICO if your DPIA identifies a high risk and you cannot take measures to reduce that risk. You