Privacy impact guidelines to be launched

Privacy impact guidelines to be launched

The public does not realise data collection is at the heart of surveillance, says the Information Commissioner

Organisations must consider the impact on individuals’ privacy before developing new IT systems the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will say today.

Lauching new guidelines on Privacy Impact Assessments at a conference on the ‘surveillance society’ in Manchester today, the watchdog will say that the breach at HM Revenue and Customs was a watershed and will call for organisations to implement new safeguards to help protect individuals’ privacy.

The collection of personal information can be beneficial, but there are also serious drawbacks, according to ICO deputy commissioner David Smith.

"Many people do not realise that data collection is at the heart of surveillance - each time someone gives away their personal information they leave electronic footprints which build up a picture of every aspect of their daily lives," he said.

"It is essential that before introducing new systems and technologies which could accelerate the growth of a surveillance society, full consideration is given to the impact on individuals and that safeguards are in place to minimise intrusion."

The ICO will launch a privacy impact assessment handbook later today to help organisations address the risks to personal privacy before implementing new initiatives and technologies.