Information Commissioner signs off with overview of year

Outgoing information commissioner Christopher Graham has issued his last report, detailing everything that has been achieved since he took the reins and giving a peek into the future of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Graham said the organisation had delivered on its objectives, "responded to new challenges and prepared for big changes, particularly in the data protection and privacy field."

Over the last year, the ICO has received 16,388 data protection queries, responded to almost 200,000 calls on its helpline and dealt with 161,000 complaints about nuisance phone calls.

After seven years in charge of the ICO, he detailed that the last year has been 12 months of great change, including large scale data breaches, surveillance operations and new laws being proposed and passed.

"The ICO has had to respond effectively to the unexpected. These include big data breaches, such as that at TalkTalk, and acting on newspaper allegations around charity fundraising methods that breached data protection and privacy law," he said.

"The ICO also took part in the debate on surveillance and security and the Investigatory Powers Bill. And, in its responses following the Schrems judgment, with all the implications for transatlantic data flows, the ICO's influential counsel helped to avert a meltdown."

It was also involved in debates on parliamentary committee actions, including the Burns Commission and new data protection reforms.

With the UK's decision to exit the EU, he explained the importance of clarity in law making, ensuring the government will support the ICO when it comes to reforming UK law.

"With so many businesses and services operating across borders, international consistency around data protection laws and rights is crucial to businesses, organisations, consumers and citizens. The ICO's role has always involved working closely with regulators in other countries, and that will continue to be the case," he said as he handed the reins to his successor Elizabeth Denham.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.