Anonymisation has always been (and still is) a real challenge for those carrying out clinical research. To shed some light on this matter, the Medical Research Council – which is part of UK Research and Innovation – has recently published guidance on Identifiability, anonymisation and pseudonymisation. Although the guidance itself states that it has been developed with the participation of the Information Commissioner’s Office, it is not ICO-approved and so institutes and organisations should be cautious when relying on the criteria set out in the guidance.
As companies continue to grapple with interpreting how the GDPR’s principles apply to their own businesses, in particular contexts, there is a growing need for data protection regulators to provide clarity on the practical application of the regulation. In the UK, the Information Commissioner has recently taken steps to address these concerns through the announcement of a ‘Regulatory Sandbox’.
With the deadline for a no-deal Brexit looming—the UK’s exit date from the European Union is now slated for April 12—companies certified to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield should update their Privacy Shield privacy policies if they have not done so already to ensure that they are able to lawfully receive personal data from the UK post-Brexit.
Right now, the whole of the U.K. appears to be on the same spot looking over a precipice. However, this is not the moment to be blind. As politicians struggle to find a magic formula for a prosperous Brexit, businesses are stepping up their efforts to mitigate the damage of a possible “no-deal Brexit.” The data protection community is no different. The proposed withdrawal agreement would have preserved the status quo in data protection terms, at least until the end of the transition period in December 2020. However, if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal, the implications for international data flows and privacy compliance generally will be severe. Therefore, British pragmatism demands an urgent and thorough approach to preparing for the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit.
A number of data protection authorities around the globe have issued press releases confirming their involvement in the 2016 global privacy “sweep”, which kicked off on April 11th. This year’s initiative involves a coordinated investigation by 29 DPAs into the practices of internet-connected devices, such as fitness and health trackers, thermostats, smart meters and TVs and connected cars. The work is being coordinated by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network under the leadership of the UK Information Commissioner’s Office.