Government’s post-Brexit agenda will affect the ICO’s structure and powers

This article, written before the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill was stalled, looks at the possible ICO reform. By Edward Machin of Ropes & Gray.

When the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (the Bill) was introduced to Parliament earlier this year, the focus was naturally on the implications for controllers, processors and individuals. A less-discussed, but equally important, aspect of the Bill concerns another stakeholder in the UK’s data protection ecosystem: the regulator. Changes to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) were proposed in the government’s Data: a new direction consultation document in September 2021 (the Consultation Document), and so don’t come out of the blue. That said, these changes are not merely cosmetic but potentially affect the ICO’s structure, duties and powers, and so are worth examining to understand their potential consequences and to assess how they fit into the government’s vision for a post-Brexit data protection regime in the UK.

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