The ICO exists to empower you through information.

If you are an organisation who is developing a particularly innovative product or service which will process personal data we are keen to receive an expression of interest from you.

Our current key areas of focus:

Exceptional innovations

We welcome any projects that do not fall into the below categories for cases that display an exceptional level of innovation.

For example, a data processing activity that is not yet established in any industry or a novel use of an existing innovative technology. A prospective participant should be able to provide reasonable evidence that the innovation is likely to be transformative.

Emerging technologies

Emerging technologies may present significant opportunities to make our lives easier, safer, more comfortable, efficient and fun. However, they also present risks that may harm people’s privacy and their trust in these technologies, if they are not addressed as the technology develops.

Our aim is to support the innovation of organisations working with emerging technologies, and to help them prevent such harms to people’s privacy. We will use the lessons learned in the Sandbox to develop our views and guidance on emerging technologies. This guidance will ultimately help to reduce the burden on businesses.

Within the emerging technologies field, we’re particularly interested in working with projects in any sector that are linked to:

  • consumer healthtech: wearable devices and software applications that help people assess their health and wellbeing;
  • next-generation Internet of Things (IoT): physical objects that connect and share information over the internet, with the ability to sense, respond to or interact with the external environment;
  • immersive technology: augmented and virtual reality hardware that creates immersive software experiences for users; and
  • decentralised finance: software that employs blockchain technology to support peer-to-peer financial transactions.

Read more about our work on emerging technologies in our Tech Horizons Report.


Biometric technologies detect physical aspects or patterns found in behavioural analysis to deliver a variety of applications. There are a wide range of biometric technologies. From the commonly used fingerprint, facial or voice authentication systems used in mobile phones to cutting edge applications such as heartbeat recognition or neural interface technologies.

Our aim is to promote and enable the use of secure, responsible and lawful innovations. We also aim to use the lessons learned in the Sandbox to provide additional guidance on the use of biometric technologies and the processing of biometric data.

We are interested in working with novel or cutting edge biometrics projects using personal data.

This could include, but is not limited to behavioural analysis or biometric categorisation systems.

You can apply to enter the Regulatory Sandbox here.