Two ICO reports

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recently published two reports.

The first is “The Privacy Dividend: The Business Case for Investing in Proactive Privacy Protection” (March 2010), which ICO commissioned from Watson Hall Ltd and John Leach Information Security Ltd (JLIS Ltd). The aim of the report is to help organisations understand the business rationale for, and benefits to be gained from, building in better privacy protection.

The report concludes that protecting personal information makes good business sense; it brings real and significant benefits that far outweigh the effort privacy protection requires; and ignoring privacy and not protecting personal information has significant downsides. The report analyses the value of personal information from different perspectives and outlines the consequences of privacy failures. It recognises that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and provides practical tools to help organisations construct customised business cases for investing in privacy protection.

The second is a review (May 2009) of the strengths and weaknesses of the EU Data Protection Directive which it commissioned from RAND Europe.

The ICO commissioned RAND Europe to conduct the study amid growing fears that the current European Directive was out-dated and too bureaucratic. The RAND study concludes that, in an increasingly global, networked environment, the Directive will not suffice in the long term. The report acknowledges that the Directive has helped to harmonise data protection rules across the European Union and has provided an international reference model for good practice. However, the report also says that the Directive is often seen as burdensome and too prescriptive, and may not sufficiently address the risks to individuals’ personal information. Click here for the report summary.

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