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News

PGP comments on Conservative data privacy plans

PGP (GB) : 18 September, 2009  (Technical Article)
Proposal for more power to the Information Commissioner's Office to penalise organisations for the loss of private data welcomed by PGP
The Conservative Party has launched a new policy paper outlining plans that could see a reduction in Government databases and an increase in public privacy if the party wins the next election. As part of the paper, shadow secretary of state for justice, Dominic Grieve, has laid out plans to scrap the controversial national identity card scheme and its central register, as well as the ContactPoint database, which holds information on some 11 million children.

Crucially, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) would receive stronger powers to penalise organisations that lose data, and would also be tasked with establishing guidelines on best practice data security.

Jamie Cowper, Director of EMEA Marketing at data encryption expert PGP Corporation, has made the following comments: "It's interesting that the Tories want to give the Information Commissioner greater powers to punish organisations which flout data protection legislation, but the proposed best practice guidelines will be equally important if organisations are to prevent the data breaches of tomorrow. While some sectors, such as the financial sector, have been relatively quick to self-regulate and develop guidelines on how to keep data safe, in other sectors such procedures have been sorely lacking. And with 70 percent of UK organisations having admitted to a data loss incident in the last year, it's clear that much more has to be done to secure the nation's data.

"All measures designed to protect the public's data, such as those proposed by the Dominic Grieve, should of course be welcomed, but the security of our personal information must be considered a basic human right, not just be the remit of one individual party. We'd like to see genuine cross-bench initiatives to establish clear data security procedures for both private and public sector organisations and to dramatically reduce the incidence of severe data breaches."

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