The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is to recruit a technology advisor to improve its knowledge of the industry.
Deputy commissioner David Smith said that the advisor will ensure that the ICO "stays one step ahead of the game" in online technology, and that the role will focus on policy development, investigations and complaint handling.
An ICO spokesman explained that the advisor will be welcomed by the rest of the organisation's staff because technology is "a growing area of workload" for the watchdog.
"At the moment the ICO looks at technology under a number of other categories, such as the NHS," he said. "The new advisor will just focus on technology specifically."
The spokesman claimed that the move is not related to the Google Street View case. The ICO has renewed its investigation after it was discovered that Google had collected more private data than was at first believed.
"We just need to see what is on the horizon when it comes to technology," he said.
Alex Brown, a partner at law firm Simmons & Simmons, believes that recruiting a technology advisor is a "good move" for the ICO.
"UK privacy legislation dates from the mid to late 1990s, and technology has moved on an enormous amount since then. It's difficult for companies that want to use cutting edge technologies to know how to comply with the legislation," he said.
"I hope this new post does not just focus on enforcement issues, but works with companies that use existing technologies in a way that is compliant with the law. From what I heard from the ICO recently, I imagine this will be a large part of its focus."
The ICO said that the successful candidate will work with a newly created Technology Reference Panel, which will meet early next year and act as a sounding board for potential risks and issues around new technologies.
The Open Rights Group welcomed the move by the ICO.
"This step has been overdue," said ORG campaigner, Florian Mueller.
"We hope that the ICO panel reflects the capabilities of the UK's academic sector as well as the industry."
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