Is protecting data on your Christmas list?

By Steve Wood, Head of Policy Delivery.

christmas-listAcross the UK, millions of electronic items will top the Christmas lists of children and adults alike this year including mobile phones, tablets, netcams, fitness devices and smart TVs. When the kids are downloading apps to their mobiles and connecting to Facebook via the TV on Christmas Day probably the last thing on your mind will be protecting their privacy.

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By Greer Schick, Online and Internal Communications Manager.

blog-new-websiteIn my last blog I wrote about launching the first sections of a rebuilt Today, we have released the remaining sections: For organisations, Action we’ve taken and About the ICO.

For regular visitors, these are the sections where you might notice the biggest changes.

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By Greer Schick, Online and Internal Communications Manager.

publicToday we have launched the first few sections of a rebuilt I thought I’d explain a bit more about what we’re doing, why, what’s led up to this point and what’s coming up next.

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Is someone watching you right now? A warning as website targets insecure webcams

By Simon Rice, Group Manager for Technology

main-highlight-webcam-securityThe danger of using weak passwords has been exposed again this month after a new website was launched that allows people to watch live footage from some of the insecure cameras across the world. The website, which is based in Russia, accesses the information by using the default login credentials, which are freely available online, for thousands of cameras. Continue reading

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Four things that could change if it’s easier to fine firms behind nuisance calls and texts

By Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner.

nuisance-call-white-bThe government has today announced that it wants to make it easier for the ICO to fine companies that make nuisance calls or send spam text messages. But what could that mean in practice?

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Global cooperation will bring local benefit

By Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner

Whether it’s buying a DVD from Amazon, a t-shirt from eBay or a song from iTunes – and then telling our friends about our new purchase on Twitter or Facebook – we are increasingly customers of multinational businesses.

This has many advantaglobal-hand-shakeges for consumers, of course. But for data protection authorities it does bring the concern that any data breach will bring with it wide-ranging complications. It’s not easy to think global if you can only act local.

That’s exactly what we saw with the Sony case last year. One data breach, one company’s customers, but several different data protection authorities, each applying different domestic laws. Continue reading

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A CCTV code fit for 2014 and beyond

By Jonathan Bamford, Head of Strategic Liason.

It’s nearly five months since I last wrote about the importance of having a CCTV code fit for the demands of modern society. At that time the draft version of the code was out for consultation. Today all of your comments have been considered and our updated CCTV guidance is now available on our website.

cctvcodeToday’s updated CCTV code is one that is truly fit for the times that we live in. The days of CCTV being limited to a video camera on a pole are long gone. Our new code reflects the latest advances in surveillance technologies and their implementation, while explaining the key data protection issues that those operating the equipment need to understand.

So what’s changed? Continue reading

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Changing your name and gender: the data protection implications

By Steve Wood, Head of Policy Delivery.

Names are an essential part of our identity. We use them every day, from conversation with friends to official transactions. They are perhaps the archetypal article of ‘personal data’ and can provide information about other aspects of your life such as ethnic background, religion or gender. So, the decision to change them is normally not taken lightly.

The reasons we do so are varied and can range from personal preference, marriage and divorce to personal safety. For a transgender person, changing his or her name can be one of the earliest steps in the process of transitioning to a different gender and is often one of the first indications to the wider world of this change. Changing a name, and for trans* people, gender can bring up a number of data protection issues that organisations should be careful to get right. Continue reading

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NHS Trust visits show positive results

By Kai Winterbottom, Group Manager, Good Practice.

There’s no doubt information security incidents in the public sector are big news. We’re approaching £5 million worth of civil monetary penalties issued by the ICO to the public sector, and for every one there’s a tale of negative headlines and undermined public confidence.

clipboard This is particularly true for those organisations providing essential services, which so often hold the most sensitive information about us, and that is certainly a category that includes the NHS.

But while fines are the headline-grabbing part of our work, we also work proactively with organisations where they’ve held their hand up to ask for help or come to our attention through complaints and self-reported breaches. Continue reading

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FOIA: an update on our definition documents and template guides for publication schemes

By Steve Wood, Head of Policy Delivery.

outsourcingWhen most people think of freedom of information, they probably think of the right to request information about public bodies. While this is an important tool for transparency, it isn’t the only requirement of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Under FOIA every public authority must also have a publication scheme where they proactively publish information. In 2008 the ICO approved a model publication scheme for public authorities to adopt; it sets out the framework they must follow to meet their legal obligations. Publication schemes enable a public authority to demonstrate their commitment to openness and to build trust with the public. Continue reading

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