Information Commissioner sharpens focus on technology with new management appointment

Written by Sam Trendall on 16 August 2018 in News

Simon McDougall joins the regulator in the role of executive director for technology policy and innovation

Technology protection - Image credit: Pixabay

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has appointed a technology director for the first time, in a move it says will sharpen its focus on tech.

The ICO announced this week that Simon McDougall will join the regulator in the newly created post of executive director for technology policy and innovation. 

He will be tasked with developing new, technology-informed approaches to the ICO’s work to promote and ensure information rights.

McDougall, who was managing director of IBM-owned risk-management specialist Promontory, will also be charged with “promoting the legally compliant processing of personal data as a core element of new technologies and business systems”, according to the ICO.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to join the ICO and lead their work in this critical area,” he said.

“Technological change continues to accelerate, and it is vital that the ICO remains constructively and robustly engaged as organisations innovate in the use of personal data.”

Before joining Promontory, chartered accountant McDougall worked for companies including Deloitte and specialised in helping big organisations with privacy and data protection programmes.

The ICO said that McDougall’s appointment is one of a number of recent developments that demonstrate the growing importance of technology to the regulator’s work.

This includes the publication of the organisation’s first-ever technology strategy, which laid out a number of goals for the next three years. 

The regulator has also identified artificial intelligence as one of its three biggest priority areas for 2018/19, as well as unveiling plans for a regulatory ‘sandbox’, where tech firms can work on the development of new products and services while receiving advice from the ICO.

Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “We have ambitious plans for our work in the crucial area of technology, and also to ensure we are an innovative regulator, open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

“As a globally respected figure in the world of privacy and innovation, Simon is a great fit for this new role, which will strengthen our expertise and responsiveness to new challenges and opportunities.”

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