Following its plea at the recent annual report launch, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is to receive extra funding.
According to BBC News, the extra cash will enable the ICO to be a key partner of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (Drip). The ICO will receive money to cover “extra duties imposed on him by the regulations,” the Home Office said.
The law will require communications providers – such as internet and mobile networks – to keep records of customer activity, including the time, length and recipients of phone calls and the ICO will be responsible for ensuring data collection and retention does not go beyond the scope of the law.
Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, told BBC News that he is having talks about the costs involved, and he would expect to be able to recruit another team of auditors specifically for this purpose in 2015-16. It was not clear how much extra money would be permitted, but it is was suspected that it would be “hundreds of thousands of pounds”.
Charles Sweeney, CEO, Bloxx, said: “Whilst there is the need for the ICO to act as some kind of data guardian, there is a much bigger issue at play here. How can companies win back the trust of the public and demonstrate that they way they protect and manage data doesn’t just meet expectations, but exceeds them? With data now fuelling the global economy one thing is for sure, companies best figure out the answer pretty quickly.”
Lawyer and president of the National Association of Data Protection Officers (NADPO) Stewart Room, said: “The legal requirement for regulatory independence requires that the regulators do not form part of the State. Where the regulator is reliant on State funding, that is a problem. However, this isn’t the case for data protection as the ICO is funded by notification fees. Of course, the funding issue will need to be resolved, because notification fees will be abolished if the Regulation comes into effect. Perhaps the solution will be found in letting ICO keep some of the money from financial penalties.”