Feeds

Information Commissioner calls for more money and more powers

And questions use of ID cards

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Giving evidence to the House of Commons Justice Committee hearing on the protection of private data, Information Commissioner Richard Thomas called for changes in the law and a rethink on government data-sharing between departments.

During more than an hour of evidence Thomas said his budget was insufficient and his powers too weak. The ICO total budget is £10m compared to £890m for Health and Safety or £143m for the Food Standards agency. The £10m comes from registration fees from data controllers - those deemed by the law to be liable not from the government.

He said the government's "vision" on data-sharing between government departments looked more at the benefits of such a policy, rather than addressing the inherent risks.

Thomas said: "There is excessive faith in technology perhaps without addressing the risks that go with collecting that information - that vision looks a little dated now."

On the ICO's powers, Thomas said he was asking for a new criminal offence to be created.

He also suggested that annual financial reports could include a statement that data security policies had been followed and would be signed off by chief executives or heads of government departments.

Thomas, who has had his job for five years, said: "We've been dissatisfied for some time with our powers. We can get a search warrant but that is the nuclear option - otherwise we need the organisation's consent and that seems bizarre. Most data regulators internationally have the right to inspect and most other UK regulators have that right."

Thomas explained that the ICO has the right to inspect international organisations, but not UK organisations. He said he welcomed the prime minister's instructions to departments to allow inspections, but wanted that backed up by legislation. He said: "It's an anomaly that doesn't make sense and reflects that data protection has not been taken seriously by successive governments."

The Information Commissioner also wants the power to require organisations to commission independent reviews of specific practices.

Asked about the ID card project, Thomas said it was difficult to comment in detail because the primary purpose of the cards was still not clear. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.