John Edwards begins his new role as UK Information Commissioner 4 January 2022. Mr. Edwards, who joins on a five year term, spent the past eight years as New Zealand Privacy Commissioner, and before that worked as a barrister.He succeeds Elizabeth Denham CBE, whose term as UK Information Commissioner ended last year.
Mr. Edwards’ appointment comes at the start of a busy time for information rights in the UK. The ICO will be actively engaging with the government over the proposed reforms to the Data Protection Act and introduction of the Online Safety Bill, as well as strengthening links with other digital regulators. 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. Mr. Edwards was educated in New Plymouth, New Zealand and achieved a Bachelor of Laws and Masters in Public Policy at the University of Wellington.
He worked as a solicitor and barrister for more than 14 years, including time as a policy adviser to the New Zealand Prime Minister and Cabinet around Freedom of Information. From February 2014 to December 2021 he was New Zealand Privacy Commissioner. During that time he chaired the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (now known as the Global Privacy Assembly), and was a member of the OECD’s Informal Group of Experts on Children in the Digital Environment.