The United Kingdom’s new Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has officially commenced her tenure, taking over from Christopher Graham who retired in June 2016. Denham, who was previously the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, Canada, has been appointed for a five-year term.
As the Information Commissioner, Denham will be responsible for enforcing data protection laws and ensuring that individuals’ personal information is handled appropriately by organizations. She will also be responsible for promoting transparency and access to information held by public authorities.
Denham has already outlined her priorities for her tenure, which include ensuring that organizations are prepared for the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will come into effect in May 2018. The GDPR will introduce stricter rules around data protection and will require organizations to report data breaches within 72 hours.
Denham has also stated that she will focus on improving the public’s trust in the use of personal data by organizations, particularly in light of recent high-profile data breaches and controversies surrounding the use of personal data in political campaigns.
In addition to her role as Information Commissioner, Denham will also serve as the head of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is responsible for enforcing data protection laws in the UK. The ICO has the power to investigate and take enforcement action against organizations that breach data protection laws, including imposing fines of up to Â£500,000.
Denham’s appointment has been welcomed by privacy advocates and industry groups alike, with many praising her experience and expertise in the field of data protection. It is hoped that under her leadership, the ICO will continue to be an effective regulator and advocate for individuals’ privacy rights in the UK.