ICO calls for public comment on surveillance society

The Information Commissioner [ICO] is calling for the public to offer input on its framework code of practice for sharing personal information, for data protection, and for a revised CCTV code of practice.

The Information Commissioner [ICO] is calling for the public to offer input on its framework code of practice for sharing personal information, for data protection, and for a revised CCTV code of practice.

"The framework is a response to the large number of queries we receive from local authorities, the police and others about information sharing," said the ICO.

"Decision-makers, and those working 'on the ground', are often unclear about how the rules of data protection apply to their work. There can be uncertainty and a lack of confidence when making decisions about the sharing of personal information."

The ICO hopes the framework code will help organisations to develop their own codes of practice to ensure they follow good practice in the handling of personal information.

The framework code deals with:

• Deciding to share personal information

• Fairness and transparency

• Information standards

• Retention of shared information

• Security of shared information

• Access to personal information

• Freedom of Information

"The most significant parts of the code are probably about giving better access to shared information held by one or more organisation and issues to do with data standards and security," said the ICO.

"For example, it is good practice for organisations sharing information to make it easy for the public to gain access to all the information held from a single point, rather than having to make requests to the various organisations involved."

The ICO said it was holding a public consultation because it wanted to give those involved in or affected by information sharing the opportunity to comment.

The consultation on data protection closes on 28 September. The closing date for comments on information sharing is 1 October 2007. The closing date for comments on the new CCTV code is 31 October 2007.

The ICO plans to publish the responses, although a degree of anonymity may be available.

Comments should go to the Data Protection Development Officer.

Comments on the data protection strategy should be sent to: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk, alternatively to the ICO's Customer Service Team in Wilmslow.

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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