Stop whinging and help the Data Sharing Review

I have just received the letter asking for inputs to the independent review requested by the Prime Minister. Inputs to this review will be discussed at most of my meetings tomorrow. What will you be doing to help?

The full text of the letter is as follows:


As you may know, the Prime Minister recently asked Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, and Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, to conduct an independent review of the use and sharing of personal information in the public and private sectors.

The review will consider whether there should be any changes to the way the Data Protection Act 1998 operates and the options for implementing any such changes. It will make recommendations on the powers and sanctions available to the regulator and courts in the legislation governing data sharing and data protection, and it will make recommendations on how data-sharing policy should be developed in a way that ensures proper transparency, scrutiny and accountability.

The recommendations will seek to take account of technological advances and strike a balance that ensures appropriate privacy and other safeguards for individuals and society, whilst enabling the sharing of information to protect the public, increasing transparency, enhancing public service delivery and reducing the burden on business.

In order to inform the review, we have today published a consultation paper to give you the opportunity to set out what changes you believe should be made to the use and sharing of personal information. The paper is available at, along with a response document. The consultation closes on Friday 15 February 2008.

I hope you will find the time to reply. The review team would be happy to meet you should you wish to discuss your response further.

Yours sincerely,

Martyn Taylor

Secretary to the Review


Tomorrow morning sees the launch of the Security Panel of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists with a high level briefing on the importance of pro-active Risk Management. Then EURIM has an update on the current state of Trust Systems in the UK. Finally, tomorrow evening, I will be speaking at the Christmas party of the London Chapter of ISSA on the politics of Information Governence – and why we have only a limited window of opportunity to secure the effective enforcement of adequate practice – and head off a backlash of business-paralysing, blame-avoidance regulatory initiatives – based on theoretical (but impractical and therefore bypassed) “best” practice.

The Richard Thomas review is your opportunity to input your expertise and exercise your voice.

Use it – or lose it.

Obviously you should work with your peers to input collective views via your professional body or trade associaton but do not rely on others to convey that view.

Those most actiive will be those with a vested interest to peddle – whether their own or that of their employers or clients.

This opportunity is too important to risk.

It also needs direct inputs from those in the front line of delivery, without filtering by committees of “experts” – as in “ex” = “has been” and “spurt” = “drip under pressure”.