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ICO announces first 10 projects for data protection sandbox

This week, the ICO announced the first cohort for their data protection sandbox.

This week the ICO announced the first cohort for their data protection sandbox. From the 64 applications received, the ICO has selected 10 projects for the initial beta phase. This new initiative aims to support organisations which are developing innovative products and services using personal data with clear public benefit. Participants entering the sandbox will be able to draw on the ICO’s expertise and advice on data protection by design, mitigating any risks as they test their innovations, while ensuring that appropriate protections and safeguards are in place.

Here is a summary of the 10 projects selected:

Tonic Analytics - The Galileo Programme was launched in 2017 and is jointly sponsored by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Highways England. Galileo’s primary focus is on the ethical use of innovative data analytics technology to improve road safety while also preventing and detecting crime.

NHS Digital - NHS Digital is working on the design and development of a central mechanism for collecting and managing patient consents for the sharing of their healthcare data for secondary use purposes, including medical research and regulated clinical trials.

Heathrow Airport - Heathrow Airport’s Automation of the Passenger Journey programme aims to streamline the passenger journey by using biometrics. Facial recognition technology would be used at check-in, self-service bag drops and boarding gates to create a seamless experience for passengers travelling through the airport.

Great London Authority - The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), which was set up to reduce levels of violence in London, needs to better understand how public health and social services can be managed to prevent and reduce crime, with a focus on early intervention. There is increasing interest from the VRU, the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the Greater London Authority (GLA), for health, social and crime data to be looked at in an integrated and collaborative way.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited - Novartis is exploring the use of voice technology within healthcare. Through its Voice Enabled Solutions project, Novartis is working with healthcare professionals to design solutions to make patient care easier, and addressing the data privacy challenges posed by this emerging technology.

Onfido - Onfido will research how to identify and mitigate algorithmic bias in machine learning models used for remote biometric-based identity verification.

TrustElevate - TrustElevate provides secure authentication and authorisation for under-16s. It is working to enable companies to comply with regulatory requirements, and to make the Internet a safer environment for children, facilitating a more robust digital ecosystem and economy.

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government - The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's project partners with Blackpool Council and the Department of Work and Pensions, and seeks to match personal information controlled by multiple parties in order to create a dataset that will allow MHCLG to understand more about the private rented sector in Blackpool, who lives there, and how we can help improve the quality of properties.

Jisc - Jisc is developing a Code of Practice with universities and colleges wishing to investigate the use of student activity data to improve their provision of student support services. This will help them protect both privacy and wellbeing.

FutureFlow - FutureFlow is a RegTech start-up designing a Forensic Analytics platform that monitors the flow of funds in the financial system. Its platform enables multiple financial institutions, regulators and agencies to leverage each other’s intelligence on Electronic Financial Crime without heavy reliance on Personally Identifying Information. This collaborative approach to tackling financial crime opens the prospect of higher detection rates with lower false positives, while reducing the burden of scrutiny on each individual and business consumer.

techUK look forward to monitoring the projects’ progress and discovering key learnings that are transferable to the wider tech community. This work will also be a valuable horizon scanning exercise to help the ICO identify new developments in technology and innovation and the potential opportunities and challenges they may provide.

The next stage of the process will be to agree and develop detailed plans for each sandbox participant before work starts on testing their products and services. It is envisaged all participants will have exited the sandbox by September 2020.

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