The Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has called for her office to be given extra resources to be able to deal with the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Denham gave evidence to MPs at the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub Committee last Wednesday, where she suggested that GDPR and Brexit will have huge implications on data protection laws, and called on the govenrment to give the ICO extra resources as it takes on more responsibilities under the new laws.
The previous Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, had noted that the organisation faced ongoing resource cuts and, therefore, a growing challenge in staying relevant in the data protection space, especially with the ratcheting up of legislation with GDPR.
When the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) was looking for his replacement, Graham said that his successor would take the helm at an exciting time for information rights.
"Growing public concerns about privacy and public demand for transparency, combined with the upcoming EU data protection regulation and potential challenges to FOI, mean that a fascinating and rewarding job just got even bigger and better," he said.
But the ICO is now feeling the strain of the incoming regulations.
An ICO spokesperson said: "In May 2018, new laws come into force to better protect people's privacy in the digital age and ensure organisations who handle personal information get it right. That brings significant additional responsibilities for the ICO as the UK's data protection regulator."
Last year, Graham said that £18m had been earmarked as a figure for new funding arrangements for the ICO, while options with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport being being addressed to consider the future of ICO funding.
The possibility of the ICO hiring extra staff specifically for dealing with hacking and website security vulnerabilities is one area that, it had been suggested, would require increased funding. However, it seems as if this funding for the ICO has not yet been forthcoming.
Despite Brexit, the ICO has called on the government to reform the UK's data protection laws so that they sit in line with the GDPR framework.
As well as advisory and regulatory information, the ICO will also have to deal with a huge amount of administration as businesses will need to report data breaches to the ICO within 72 hours of discovery, and these will have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
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