Consultation: Privacy by Design

Despite more than 20 years of data protection legislation in the UK and efforts to encourage the adoption of privacy friendly technologies and ways of working, progress has been disappointing and data protection and privacy safeguards are often bolted on as inadequate afterthoughts rather than built into new developments from first principles. The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched the ‘Privacy by Design‘ project to start addressing this problem, and readers are invited to submit their views to the consultation.

With the current drive for increased information sharing, large centralised databases and increasing use of biometrics, the Information Commissioner’s Office sees the concepts at the heart of ‘privacy by design’ as helping ensure that essential safeguards against potential unwarranted risks to individuals’ information and privacy are put in place in new developments. The ICO wants to try to help bridge the current gap in both the public and private sectors.

To start the process off, the Information Commissioner’s Office has commissioned the Enterprise Privacy Group to develop a short consultative report setting out the privacy by design concept and mentioning some of the privacy enhancing technologies and working methods that already exist. The report will concentrate on why there have not been better levels of adoption; the barriers to this and what can be done to improve the situation.

The Enterprise Privacy Group welcomes expressions of interest from individuals or organisations who wish to contribute to the project. These contributions can be in the form of:

  • documents, white papers, web links to relevant information;
  • meetings and interviews;
  • participation in a workshop in London on 15 September 2008.

Because of the tight timescales involved, the EPG team cannot commit to meeting with every interested party, or inviting all applicants to the event on 15 September, but will endeavour to take into account all relevant information. Please submit your expressions of interest or contributions by email to bydesign@privacygroup.org no later than 14 September 2008 .

The ICO will publish the completed report at a conference it is organising entitled ‘Privacy by Design’. The free to attend conference will be held at the Lowry Hotel Manchester on the 26 November 2008. Full details will appear on www.ico.gov.uk once the registration arrangements are finalised.

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