UK data protection officers are meeting in Manchester today to address some of the key data protection challenges facing organisations.
Delegates will examine how data protection officers can encourage organisations to adopt appropriate security measures when working with personal information.
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The meeting, hosted by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), will also see the launch of the ICO's data protection strategy.
The strategy, aimed at minimising data protection risk, explains how the ICO will focus its resources on situations where there is greatest risk of harm to individuals through improper use of their personal information.
David Smith, deputy commissioner, said as increasing numbers of organisations are collecting more personal information, it was essential that effective data protection policies and practices were in place.
"Vigilance and strong leadership are needed at the highest level in all organisations to ensure data protection is taken seriously," he said.
Speakers at the meeting include Richard Thomas, information commissioner, and Michael Wills, MP, minister of state at the Ministry of Justice.
Last week, the information commissioner met prime minister Gordon Brown to discuss prison sentences for data protection offences. Thomas said the meeting focussed on why data protection needed to be moved up the government's agenda.