The ICO released a statement outlining their approach to regulation during the coronavirus pandemic.
The ICO released a statement this week, outlining their approach to regulation during the global coronavirus pandemic, almost one month after publishing their first approach regarding data protection during COVID-19, as we informed in one of our previous blogs.As the pandemic continues to affect the ways in which people do business, the regulatory authority has deemed this time “exceptional times in the nation’s history” and as such acknowledges that the impact of the public health crisis on government, public bodies and businesses is significant enough that it should outline a new empathetic and pragmatic approach to their functioning capacity. The ICO has expressed its intent to be flexible, taking into account the burdens their actions may place on businesses, many of which are already facing staff and operating capacity shortages, and severe financial and other pressures.
In its recently released statement, the ICO outlines its new approach surrounding engagement with the public and organisations, regulatory action, and also the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations. The ICO also stated that it has prioritised its services to give additional guidance to organisations on how to comply with the law during these special times. The regulatory authority also acknowledged that effects of this public health crisis are likely to be felt for some time after it is over, and as such, its flexibility will continue to be necessary in some areas for many months to come. It’s intent is to keep this guidance under review as the situation progresses, and to issue updates where necessary.
The ICO recognizes its responsibility to take into account the special circumstances that many organisations find themselves today as a result of the public health crisis. As such, Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, in the statement released earlier this week, said “It is important that we regulate for the time we are in now, but it is important too that we look to the future. Data protection can play a central role in promoting economic growth when we come out of this pandemic: encouraging public trust in innovation and supporting the UK as it steps forward in the global economy.”