The Information Commissioner has warned today that its role has never been more important and that the general public has to have an independent regulator overseeing the handling of people’s personal data.

ico logo re-sizedAt the launch of the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) annual report,  Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, said that incidents involving Facebook, and Google meant “… it is clear that organisations’ use of data is getting ever more complicated”.

This year’s annual report shows that the ICO handled 259,903 calls to its helpline and resolved 15,492 data protection complaints.  This is a rise in both cases, of over 10% on the previous financial year.

It is certainly a concern to see these figures rising so sharply and it makes us question where this rise is coming from?  Are businesses ignoring the rules being laid down or is there uncertainty in terms of the responsibilities that businesses have to ensure the security of their data from end to end?  There has certainly been no end of press when it comes to the large fines that the ICO has the power to issue if a company is seen to be in breach of these rules.

Graham stated that “The last twelve months have been a record year – more complaints resolved than ever, more enforcement action taken and more advice given through our helpline.   And it also means having the powers to act on the more serious complaints.  A strong regulator is needed if a data breach affects millions of people.”

He continued by saying “That someone is the Information Commissioner. We’re effective, efficient and busier than ever. But to do our job properly, to represent people properly, we need stronger powers, more sustainable funding and a clearer guarantee of independence.”

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