DPI16_Banner_300x250 WITH COPY

By Stewart Room

What Will Be Hot in 2008?

The hottest topic within the UK in 2008 will be informational security. The HMRC data loss case in November has generated massive, worldwide publicity, but there are many other reasons why this will be the number one privacy issue at boardroom level in 2008.

For example, January 2007 saw the imprisonment of journalist Clive Goodman, for phone-tapping privacy offences. February saw the unprecedented fining of the Nationwide by the Financial Services Authority for a laptop theft (£980,000). March saw the Information Commissioner naming and shaming the UK's leading high street banks for security failings. April saw the commissioner commencing a high-profile investigation into data security at Barclays Bank. June saw the first concrete step toward the introduction of custodial penalties for section 55 Data Protection Act "data theft" offences with the introduction of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. July saw the information commissioner warning CEOs to rapidly improve their performance on data security.

At the European level, the European Commission in May took an important step to promote Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), with the publication of its communication to the European Parliament and Council — again with informational security in mind. Similarly, the European Commission has indicated that it prefers the formal introduction of U.S.-style reporting of security breaches legislation for the electronic communications sector in Europe. And, of course, the U.S. preference for reporting of security breaches has filtered into European mass consciousness, with cases like TK Maxx making national headlines. Yes, information security is bound to be the number one hot topic in 2008!

2008 will also see the first attempts toward the filing of privacy class-actions in the UK. Now that data loss has captured the public's imagination, it is only a matter of time before a smart firm of lawyers realises that security breaches can sustain mass litigation.

Another fundamental issue of importance will be the question: Is the Data Protection Act "fit for purpose?" Again, the HMRC case caused Prime Minister Gordon Brown to partially accede to long-standing lobbying by the information commissioner for the introduction of wide-ranging rights of access into data controllers. As a result of the HMRC breach, the commissioner will be given the power to carry out spot checks on public authorities, a massive improvement on the current position which requires the commissioner to obtain a judicial warrant before he can enter premises. The introduction of this spot-checking power will not end the "fit for purpose" debate however. It will spur it on. The commissioner is bound to demand similar powers to access the private sector, powers to levy fines and greater prosecuting powers. Further data security blunders throughout 2008 will keep the "fit for purpose" debate within the headlines.

The "surveillance society" will continue to be a very prominent issue within 2008. Yet again we refer to HMRC, which has shaken the public trust in the government's ability to handle sensitive data. As massive public sector data processing schemes continue in their development, we will have cause to regularly question whether the state is going too far.
The PETs communication mentioned earlier will see further fundamental changes in thinking about privacy and data protection. The validity of core thinking within current law, which is based on geography (Europe good, non-Europe bad) and contract ("gain consent to processing" etc.), will be challenged further by IT solutions and the IT industry. An emerging consensus will be established by which global IT companies will lead the development of data protection — Version 2!

Stewart Room is a Partner in the Privacy and Information Law Group at Field Fisher Waterhouse. He may be reached at stewart.room@ffw.com or at +44 (0)20 7861 4850.


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Network and talk privacy at IAPP KnowledgeNet meetings, taking place worldwide.

Women Leading Privacy

Events, volunteer opportunities and more designed to help you give and get career support and expand your network.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

New Web Conferences Added!

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Staff

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Close-up

Looking for tools and info on a hot topic? Our close-up pages organize it for you in one easy-to-find place.

Where's Your DPA?

Our interactive DPA locator helps you find data protection authorities and summary of law by country.

IAPP Westin Research Center

See the latest original research from the IAPP Westin fellows.

Looking for Certification Study Resources?

Find out what you need to prepare for your exams

More Resources »

GDPR Comprehensive: Spots Going Fast

With the top minds in the field leading this exceptional program, it's no wonder it's filling quickly. Register now to secure your spot.

Be Part of Something Big: Join the Summit

Registration is open for the Global Privacy Summit 2016. Discounted early bird rates available for a short time, register today!

Data Protection Intensive Returns to London

Registration is now open for the IAPP Europe Data Protection Intensive in London. Check out the program!

P.S.R. Call for Speakers Open!

P.S.R. is THE privacy + cloud security event of the year, and you can take a leading role. Propose a session for this year's program.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

Exhibit at an Event

Put your brand in front of the largest gatherings of privacy pros in the world. Learn more.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»