ICO Views on EU Data Protection Framework

October 5, 2010

In its response to the MoJ, the ICO has highlighted the key features it would expect to see in any revised framework and welcomes the MoJ’s recognition of the potential for changes. The ICO supports the review and believes that there needs to be ‘a common-sense and modern-day approach to data protection’.

The ICO has pointed out that, although in its view the current data protection principles are sound, the law needs to provide more clarity for individuals and for businesses. In particular the ICO wants more clarity on the scope of the law, including what constitutes personal data.

The ICO suggests that the law must be clearer on when consent is required to use personal information and should adopt a more pragmatic approach to the regulation of international data flows. The allocation of responsibilities amongst those handling personal data also needs to reflect the changing nature of modern-day business relationships

The ICO believes there needs to be better coordination between freedom of information law and an appreciation that individual’s rights need to be updated to bring them in line with the capabilities of modern technology.  

David Smith, Deputy Commissioner and Director of Data Protection at the ICO, said:

‘The ICO has welcomed the MoJ’s call for evidence on the current framework. We have no doubt that this framework, which includes the UK Data Protection Act and the EU Data Protection Directive, can be improved so that the law is more effective in practice. We need to ensure that people have real protection for their personal information, not just protection on paper and that we are not distracted by arguments over interpretations of the Data Protection Act.’  

A full copy of the ICO’s response to the MoJ’s call for evidence can be viewed here.