Review of 2014 for the ICO’s website and blog

ICO 2014Before January draws to a close, we thought it would be interesting to reflect on a year in the life of the ICO website, and more specifically, which parts of the website proved most popular in 2014.

Demand for the ICO’s services has steadily increased year on year, and 2014 was no different. Information rights were frequently in the media, so it will come as no surprise that the ICO’s website had a busy year, with over 19 million page views from more than three million users. Over 60% of those users were new visitors, which shows we’ve been successful in our mission to further our reach.

Let’s have a look at the ICO website’s top 12 pages:

1. Guide to data protection
2. Register of data controllers
3. Register under the Data Protection Act
4. Data protection principles
5. Find out how to request your personal information
6. Key definitions of the Data Protection Act
7. For organisations
8. Guide to the EU cookie law
9. Report a concern
10. Subject Access Request guidance for organisations
11. Guide to freedom of information
12. Criminal, court and police records

It’s not just our website that’s busy either. Our WordPress blog received over 125,000 views last year from almost 80,000 visitors, and while the vast majority of visitors to our blog are from the UK, with US visitors second, it’s interesting to see that people from a total of 183 countries visited our blog in 2014.

Let’s have a look at our five most popular news stories:

  1. ‘Leaving for a new job? Don’t walk off with personal information’, warns ICO

In at number five is our warning about stealing personal information from your employer when moving to a new job, after a paralegal was prosecuted under section 55 of the Data Protection Act.

  1. Top IT data security threats revealed and what organisations must do to stop them

After a series of serious data breaches resulting from a lack IT security, some resulting in big penalties, Simon Rice published this list of basic vulnerabilities to help organisations. SQL injection, a problem that’s been around for many years (and is easily fixed) still persists.

  1. Information Commissioner ‘sounds the alarm’ on data breaches within the legal profession

The sensitive personal data held by solicitors and barristers is clear. Our top tips on how the profession can better look after this information followed 15 data protection issues in three months in the sector.

  1. TV cold-calling company fined £225,000 after thousands of nuisance calls uncovered

In 2013, the BBC aired a series called The Call Centre, a fly on the wall documentary about a company making marketing calls to individuals. And in June 2013 the ICO issued penalties to the two companies involved, Nationwide Energy Services and We Claim You Gain, totalling £225,000.

We tweeted the fine while the show was on air

And to be fair to the BBC, they retweeted it

Although the story was published in 2013, it still made it into our top 5 news stories of 2014, which shows that nuisance calls are a top priority for the ICO, and a huge concern for the public.

  1. Nuisance calls: boilers, insulation and solar panels

And our top news story of 2014 is, as expected, related to nuisance marketing calls.

If nuisance calls in 2013 focused on pensions and PPI, 2014 saw the focus of these nuisance calls shift to ’government-funded’ boilers, insulation, and solar panels. As the trends of these calls began to change, we put out this news story to help warn people, and to ask for the public’s help in taking the companies involved to task by reporting the calls to us.

Now let’s look at our top blogs:

  1. Keeping parents informed: what schools need to consider when using email

In at number five is our blog giving advice to schools on complying with the Data Protection Act while using email. Schools handle lots of sensitive information about children; ensuring this information isn’t given to the wrong person should be a top priority.

  1. Data security officers – set your alarm for 8 April 2014

This cryptically titled blog, which is great for giving it an air of mystery but not so good for the SEO, is about Windows XP and the pulling of its support by Microsoft. This could potentially leave users of Windows XP vulnerable to security risks, which in turn could see organisations breaching the Data Protection Act.

  1. Four things we’ve learned from the EU Google judgment

2014 was the year people gained more control over how their personal information was used online, with the judgment against Google confirming the search giant does have a responsibility for the personal data it processes.

  1. Wearable technology – the future of privacy

With Google Glass and the rise of wearable technology, people began to worry about their implications to privacy. Although the Data Protection Act covers any processing of personal data, we put together this handy blog which looks specifically how the legislation applies to these new devices.

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

Our most popular blog was one that prompted headlines around the world, as we highlighted a website that was accessing unsecured webcams and broadcasting the footage they were recording.

As well as being our most popular blog, with almost 45,000 views, the story was also the BBC’s biggest technology story of the month.

Thomas BookerThomas Booker, Communications Officer, has responsibility for the Information Commissioner’s Office’s online presence, including the ICO website and intranet.
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