back to article UK's data protection watchdog preps to 'get its hands dirty' with beta of regulatory sandbox

The UK's data protection watchdog has said it wants to "get its hands dirty" as it launched a scheme that will help it figure out how to regulate innovative products using personal data before they get on to the market. The Information Commissioner's Office today opened the beta phase of its regulatory sandbox programme for …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge


    Whether innovation has been stifled by Data Protection seems at first sight an interesting question, but the reality so far, observed from the perspective of a practising data protection consultant, is that practically no-one has really achieved compliance with the legislation anyway. After all, to business, 'compliance' has for ages typically meant 'what's the least we can get away with doing to [keep the regulator off our backs; get the certificate; what you will]', and the approach to the new data protection legislation seems no different.

    Supposing that everyone continues to do the minimum for 'compliance' the status quo will continue despite the legislation - only a tiny minority of offenders get called to account, and even if they are committed to privacy (which I doubt) the minute proportion of app developers who will be able to take advantage of is venture will make no difference overall. The reality anyway is that most app developers haven't' even considered privacy.

    So this initiative seems to be another instance of profile raising by the ICO. They're grossly under-resourced and thus effectively unable to deal with high volume complaints from ordinary folks, so they're already cherry picking 'big breaches' for action. They're so short of people that, as I was recently told by a staffer, it currently takes three months to assign a case officer to a complaint. Consequently failures to comply will probably proceed on their merry way, and apps will continue to slurp your private business.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Realities

      That's all very true, but the fault doesn't lay with the ICO, but with its funder - the government. It is fairly clear that the government wants none of these regulators to achieve anything, otherwise they would be properly funded.

      I also think that any regulatory body should have a means for people to pre-check new developments - not because of "innovation", but to educate and to say to people in breach "You had the chance to check beforehand". Big sticks are okay, but yelling "Gotcha" and beating people up without warning is not justice.

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