On 25 January 2021, the Information Commissioner published a statement looking ahead to 2021. Key areas of focus for the Information Commissioner for this year include:
- continuing the immediate focus on supporting organisations with the impact of COVID 19. This includes protecting people's rights, and that data protection is considered at the earliest stages of any innovations;
- the Age Appropriate Design Code and children's personal data, once the transition period ends on 2 September 2021 (you can read more in our summary here);
- data sharing, following publication of the ICO's new Data Sharing Code of Practice in December 2020 (you can read more in our summary here);
- guidance on political campaigning, facial recognition and codes of conduct and certification schemes;
- ICO's operational work continuing, such as work into data broking, use of sexual crime victims' personal data, and Adtech. The ICO recently stated it is resuming its investigation into Adtech, which you can read more about here.
The Information Commissioner stated it would be guided by its priorities that it published in May last year (you can read more in our summary here) as well as its Information Rights Strategic Plan.
The Information Commissioner's current term was due to end in July 2021. However, following a request from the Secretary of State for DCMS, her term has now been extended to 31 October 2021.
This year will be similarly busy. The Age Appropriate Design Code will start to have a real impact, as the transition period around its introduction comes to an end, and we will be working hard to support organisations to make the necessary changes to comply with the law. We’ll also be focused on supporting organisations around data sharing, following the publication of our guidance last month. The guidance is accompanied by practical resources to help organisations share data in line with the law. As I discussed with the House of Lords Public Services Committee this month, data sharing is an important area of focus, and we will also be supporting broader work to encourage the necessary culture change to remove obstacles to data sharing. Other support for organisations planned for this year includes guidance on political campaigning, facial recognition, and codes of conduct and certification schemes, as well as a digital version of our Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference in April.