ICO and CMA: Put the user at the heart of your design choices

A joint position paper by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) sets out their shared expectations about how firms present information and choices to users of digital services about how their personal data is processed.

The ICO says that where design practices steer people to decisions that do not reflect their privacy preferences, this is an infringement of the law. The ICO will take formal enforcement action where necessary, particularly where design practices lead to risks or harms for vulnerable people at risk.

The position paper, Harmful design in digital markets: How Online Choice Architecture practices can undermine consumer choice and control over personal information is an example of the ICO and CMA’s cooperation – both are members of the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF). The paper provides examples of concerning design practices, and provides a set of expectations for firms, User Experience (UX) and product designers.

The paper was issued on 9 August.

Tom Reynolds, Chief Economist, ICO, and Bethan Watts, Director of Projects, DRCF, will speak at Privacy Laws & Business September 14 workshop, Harnessing Data, Valuing Privacy.