UK organisations should always consider the impact on an individual's privacy when developing new IT systems, says the Information Commissioner's Office.
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Assistant information commissioner Jonathan Bamford said that for people to have trust in organisations, they need to be confident their personal information is held securely.
He said it is essential there are safeguards to minimise intrusion into people's lives before introducing systems that could promote a surveillance society.
The call coincides with the ICO's launch of the latest version of the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) handbook to help organisations address the risks to privacy.
Bamford said the PIA handbook will help organisations ensure privacy safeguards are built into systems at the outset "rather than bolted on as an inadequate and expensive afterthought".
It is mandatory for all central government departments and their agencies to adopt PIAs when developing new IT systems.
The measure was introduced by the Home Office after the HM Revenue and Customs data breach in November 2007.