The ICO has recently released a statement urging developers to make privacy a priority early on in the implementation of new technologies.
In a recent statement, the UK’s data protection regulator, the ICO urges developers to make privacy a priority at an early stage of the implementation of new technologies. The Commissioner believes that the incorporation of privacy principles at an early stage of development will empower individuals to safely share their information. This stance is reflected in the ICO’s Tech Horizons Report where the organisation discusses various categories of emerging technology Including consumer healthtech, next-generation Internet of things (IOT), immersive technology, and decentralised finance. The ICO also urges businesses who need support on projects related to these technologies to be part of its Regulatory Sandbox scheme as it aims to further develop its views and guidance on emerging technologies.
The ICO highlighted some of technology’s current challenges in privacy and trust, and urges developers to prioritise privacy.
The first annual Tech Horizons Report focuses on some of the implications of what is considered the most significant technological developments for privacy anticipated over the next two to five years. While these emerging technologies hold the potential to help us live easier, safer, more comfortable, efficient and fun lives, they also present a range of risks that could outshadow the benefits by harming people’s privacy and ruining their trust in these technologies, if trust and privacy are not incorporated into their development.The ICO highlighted a common set of challenges being observed currently. This includes the collection of personal information in ways that may not be transparent to people and that they may not have meaningful control over, as well as complexity of some data ecosystems. The ICO also mentions that technologies are collecting information about sensitive personal characteristics that may require additional safeguards, while some technologies are collecting more information than they may need for their primary purpose entirely.
The Tech Horizons Report provides an in-depth assessment of emerging technologies and their expected impact on the market including proposed risk assessments. This includes an indication of what developers in these or similar industries should be looking out for to ensure that their technologies are safe and trustworthy for consumers. Each industry comes with its own data protection and privacy implications and the ICO provides industry-specific recommendations based on the challenges likely to be faced by its respective developers. The ICO also provides insight into how it intends to prepare for its role in regulating these technologies, which includes the Regulatory Sandbox, to which it invites the organisations, in order to aid the developers within these organisations to engineer data protection into these technologies.
Cristina Contero, Partner at Aphaia, points out that “data protection by design and by default is one of the main principles of the UK GDPR and it requires that data protection is integrated into the processing activities and business practices in all the stages of the service and product lifecycle, starting from the design state”.