Feeds

ICO repeats jail call as complaints soar

Anyone listening to the watchdog puppy?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Complaints about potential privacy violations soared by 30 per cent last year, according to regulator the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Complaints about public bodies' failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act jumped by 20 per cent.

The ICO is responsible for ensuring that organizations keep in line with the privacy protecting laws the Data Protection Act and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) as well as transparency law the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

The ICO's annual report (pdf) has revealed that data protection enquiries jumped by 30 per cent in 2009/2010 compared to 2008/2009. The ICO received 33,324 enquiries, it said, including many 'subject access requests', which allow a person to view records held about them.

"The increase in complaints to the ICO is a cause for concern," the report said. "Subject Access Requests are the main reason for complaining to the Information Commissioner, the same as last year. The rights of individuals to access personal data accounted for over 28 per cent of complaints where the reason was specified.

"People were also worried about the disclosure of data and the accuracy of information being retained," it said.

The number of complaints about public authorities failing to abide by their FOI obligations to release data also rose, by 20 per cent, to 3,734.

"We continue to close cases without the need for formal decision notices, many through effective negotiation and discussion with public authorities to ensure that information is released when it is appropriate to do so," said the annual report. "We closed more than half our cases by informal resolution."

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said in his foreword to the report that he was committed to continuing to campaign for jail sentences for people convicted of buying and selling personal information.

"I shall continue to press for a more effective deterrent to criminal behaviour by 'rogue' individuals," said Graham. "I continue to believe that the courts should be able to impose a custodial sentence, where appropriate, to tackle the unlawful trade in personal data that is the scourge of the digital world. Data theft is no victimless crime."

Graham also reiterated his view that the ICO should be funded more transparently and should report directly to Parliament, rather than to a Government department, as is currently the case.

"To carry out my duties effectively and with the full confidence of all parties, now is the time to formalise the governance arrangements for the Information Commissioner; suitable for an independent public official whose accountability is fully to Parliament rather than primarily via Departments of State," he said.

"I believe my predecessors and I have demonstrated the real independence of the Information Commissioner; but, with five years' experience of operating the Freedom of Information Act, I believe that the ICO has not just to be independent of government, but be seen to be independent in its reporting and financing arrangements," said Graham.

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.