John Edwards (pictured) has begun his new role as the UK’s Information Commissioner, and will lead the Wilmslow-based Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for the next five years.
Mr Edwards’ term begun on 4th January, after serving for eight years in an equivalent position with New Zealand’s data protection and privacy regulator. Prior to that, he worked as a barrister and government advisor in New Zealand. He succeeds Elizabeth Denham CBE, who served as Information Commissioner from 2016.
John Edwards said of his appointment:
“Privacy is a right not a privilege. In a world where our personal data can drive everything from the healthcare we receive to the job opportunities we see, we all deserve to have our data treated with respect.
“My role is to work with those to whom we entrust our data so they are able to respect our privacy with ease whilst still reaping the benefits of data-driven innovation. I also want to empower people to understand and influence how they want their data to be used, and to make it easy for people to access remedies if things go wrong.
“I know from experience that the team at the ICO are entirely dedicated to privacy and information rights, and to supporting organisations and consumers alike. The ICO has an international reputation for forward thinking and clear assessment of the practicalities of the law, which I will continue to promote. And I know too of the active data protection community in the UK – I look forward to hearing the experiences of businesses, the public sector, civil society and the privacy community.
“I welcome the opportunity to oversee the crucial Freedom of Information Act. Transparency that helps people understand and trust decisions made on their behalf has perhaps never been as relevant as across the past two years. I look forward to ensuring the law continues to be relevant in our changing world.”
During his five year term, the new Information Commissioner will be working to deliver proposed reforms to the Data Protection Act and introduction of the Online Safety Bill, as well as strengthening links with other digital regulators worldwide following Brexit. The ICO will also continue to prioritise its work to protect children online, through the Age Appropriate Design Code, which has already prompted international tech companies to make changes to better respect children’s rights online.