The Office of the Information Commissioner
The Information Commissioner’s office (ICO) is the independent public authority set up to uphold information rights and duties. Their wide ranging responsibilities include promoting good practice, ruling on complaints, providing information to individuals and organisations and taking appropriate action when the law is broken.
Amongst the Acts they have to watch over are not only the restrictive Acts such as the Data Protection Act 1998 but also what people might consider as the obverse of that Act, the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The department’s duties also include dealing with the INSPIRE Regulations which we suspect are widely unknown although considered important on the European stage.
There are a number of tools available to the ICO for taking action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. They include criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The Information Commissioner also has the power to serve a monetary penalty notice on a data controller.
The action the ICO can take will depend on so many factors although the basic problems they have may be budget and a lack of investigators and prosecutors. It is perhaps clear that the ICO has to depend upon receiving complaints and in the major instances relying upon police forces to carry out the main work with the ICO in the background offering necessary advice. Areas where the ICO says it has made a difference include the following. To see what the ICO says about their successes please click on the hyperlink.
Contact Dennis Clarke to discuss your needs and agree a fee structure to deal with any issues you may have with Data Protection.