MPs confirm Elizabeth Denham as new ICO | DMA

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MPs confirm Elizabeth Denham as new ICO


MPs sitting on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee have approved the appointment of the new Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham

Ms Denham, who is the standing Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, Canada, will take up her new role on June 28 and replaces Christopher Graham, who has presided over several changes in the law to make prosecutions of rogue marketers easier.

Chair of the committee Jesse Norman said: "The Committee noted with interest Ms Denham’s views on a range of topics, including the possible retention of emails as official records, the extension of FOI and directors’ liability for data breaches, in particular.

"We also noted Ms Denham’s track record on data protection with Government in British Columbia, and her proactive approach to protection of privacy with major international technology companies," he said.

Denham appeared before the committee of MPs to face a series of questions about her approach and experience, which was initially in civil service posts before setting up an independent consulting agency, Denham and Associates which advised clients on data protection issues and was an advisor to the Canadian federal government in reviewing its Access to Information Act in 2001.

In 2003 she returned to government work, first as a director, private sector in the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, then assistant privacy commissioner of Canada, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada Ottawa in 2007 and finally her current role since 2010, where she brought enforcement cases against both Google and Facebook.

She hinted that she would work to take those running rogue companies to task. "Sanctions for bad actors are necessary and healthy for a digital economy," she said.

Canada's Freedom of Information (FOI) laws extend back 30 years, 20 years longer than in the UK.

She will lead the Information Commissioner's Office into a new phase of data protection regulation as the EU GDPR becomes law in 2018.

Chris Combemale, CEO of DMA Group, said, "The approval of Elizabeth Denham as the new UK Information Commissioner should be welcomed by the whole marketing sector. During her pre-appointment hearing yesterday she discussed her proactive approach to enforcing the laws around data protection, and a range of other topics.

“We look forward to working together to build a new framework for the industry that fits with GDPR, Privacy Shield and the expectations of consumers, allowing them to do more than just be compliant but also put their customers at the heart of what they do."

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