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Data regulator issues guidance for online data

Best practise, as long as you've got Flash

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Information Commissioner's Office has issued what it calls new rules for the processing of information online.

They're not actually new rules, however - it's just a new 44-page pdf. The leaflet is also available in ebook format.

The failing regulator - facing court action for not meeting minimum European data protection standards and also lined up for reform by the coalition government - claims the pamphlet is the first of its kind.

The pamphlet reminds businesses of their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act, whether the information is online or in another format.

A spokeswoman for the ICO said the most important changes to best practise were around the use of social networking sites, cookies and behaviourial advertising.

There is a shorter pdf with advice for consumers on cookies, browser settings and social networking sites.

Commissioner Christopher Graham said companies faced a double whammy of enforcement and damaged reputation for data breaches.

The European Commission issued its final warning to the UK government to beef up data and privacy regulation or face a hearing in front of the Court of Justice. The Coalition government yesterday asked for feedback on fundamental reform of the regulator.

Viviane Reding said last month: "Having a watchdog with insufficient powers is like keeping your guard dog tied up in the basement."

The ICO has been criticised in the past for failing to act over Google mass-Wi-Fi snoop , Phorm's intercept programme and the government's loss of the entire child benefit database , to name but three.

In its defence the ICO would say governments have consistently refused its repeated demands to be given real, proactive rather than reactive, powers. ®

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