DCMS proposals may jeopardise the ICO’s independence

The plans for a new DP regime also include some changes to the ICO’s enforcement powers in terms of investigations and seeking information from organisations. By Laura Linkomies.

Proposals from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, sponsoring department for the ICO, include many suggestions on how to reform the ICO. There is a clear push to steer the ICO towards the role of an economic regulator; the proposals talk about the ICO’s role becoming increasingly important for competition, innovation and economic growth. The government proposes a requirement for the ICO to have regard for economic growth and innovation when exercising its functions.

Specific obligations under the new duty could include:

  1. Providing evidence of how the development of regulatory policy takes account of economic growth and innovation, especially in emerging technologies – for example, by undertaking an in-depth market condition analysis via business surveys and regular engagement with regulated communities
  2. Systematic analysis or “horizon scanning” for threats and opportunities across sectors
  3. Evaluations of interventions regarding market conditions, and publication of outcomes and lessons learnt.

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