Wednesday, 14 July 2010

UK Information Commissioner's annual report out

A press release earlier today from the UK's privacy / data protection and freedom of information regulator announced the issue of the Information Commissioner’s Annual Report for 2009/10. (There's a summary too.)

They're busier than ever, but on top of things. Information Commissioner Christopher Graham says: “Technology, concerns about data security and the welcome focus on transparency of official information mean information rights are centre stage."

With a new ICO mission statement and increased regulatory powers, Mr Graham uses his annual report to call for the Information Commissioner to report directly to Parliament, as in the case of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, to increase transparency around the reporting and financing arrangements of the ICO.

Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner, says:

“I believe that the ICO has not just to be independent of government, but be seen to be independent. To carry out my duties effectively and with the full confidence of all parties, now is the time to formalise the governance arrangements for the Information Commissioner, suitable for an independent public official whose accountability is fully to Parliament, rather than primarily via Departments of State.”

Hear hear. I may query their site's electronic accessibility and usability, but the people from the Information Commissioner's Office generally do an excellent job. Full independence - and, as important, more powers with real teeth plus resources for the ICO (even though they seem to be coping rather well) - would be even better.

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