UK's Information Commissioner Starts New Role Amid Major Changes

UK's Information Commissioner Starts New Role Amid Major Changes

The UK’s new data protection tsar began his role this week at the start of what promises to be a momentous period of change for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Former New Zealand privacy commissioner John Edwards will follow Elizabeth Denham into an increasingly important role as head of the UK’s privacy watchdog.

The ICO is the independent regulator for data protection and information rights laws, including the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, which govern nuisance marketing.

Edwards joins the ICO ahead of a promised government “overhaul,” which will see its governance model changed to mirror those of other regulators such as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Ofcom. That means the creation of an independent board and chief executive position.

He will also oversee what could be significant reforms to the country’s data protection laws which some fear may cause it to diverge too far from the GDPR, imperiling cross-border data flows to the EU.

The government wants to make it easier to strike data adequacy partnerships with other non-EU countries worldwide and sees

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