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ICO Create New International Strategy and Intelligence Department

New ICO Department to step up engagement with growing community of data protection authorities around the world.

Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, announced last week she has created a new Department within the Information Commissioner’s Office for International Strategy and Intelligence.

The move comes as the ICO considers its position on the international data protection stage following the vote for the UK to leave the EU and the repercussions this has for data transfers. The UK ICO has been an influential voice on the European Union’s Article 29 Working Party, the group of EU Data Protection Authorities which sets the direction of Data Protection policy in Europe.

Once the GDPR applies from 25 May 2018 the Article 29 Working Party will be replaced by the European Data Protection Board, and it is unclear whether the UK will have a seat at the table after Brexit. Indeed Elizabeth Denham’s blog announcing the new department states:

“effort should go into maintaining a constructive and mutually supportive relationship with the European Data Protection Board as and when the ICO ceases to be a member.”

The new ICO Department for International Strategy and Intelligence will therefore be crucial in developing relationships around the world and ensuring that data can continue to flow. This will help support the Government’s ambitions for a Global Britain based on a modern industrial strategy enabled and driven by tech.

techUK believes the top priority for the ICO and this new department should be helping the Government establish a legally robust mechanism which allows data to flow between the UK and the EU from the moment the UK ceases to be an EU member state. This follows techUK’s report ‘The Digital Sectors After Brexit’ which found that the UK accounts for 11.5 per cent of total global data flows, three quarters of which are with the EU.

The Government’s recently published Brexit White paper rightly recognises that the stability of data transfers between the UK and the EU is important for many sectors. The ICO and this new department will be crucially important in helping the Government ensure that this stability is continued post-brexit.

If you would like more information on techUK’s work on data protection please contact Jeremy Lilley.


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