ICO publishes data sharing code

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a new Data Sharing Code of Practice.

The code gives practical advice for businesses on how to responsibly share data.

Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said that the pandemic has brought into even sharper focus the need for “fair, transparent, and secure data sharing.”

“I have seen first-hand how sharing data between organisations has been crucial to supporting and protecting people during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Denham, information commissioner. “That includes public authorities and supermarkets sharing information to support vulnerable people shielding or health data being shared to support fast, efficient and effective delivery of pandemic responses.”

Provision for the code was first mentioned in the Data Protection Act 2018.

The code addresses several aspects of the new legislation, on everything from transparency and lawful bases for using personal data, to the new accountability principle, and the requirement to record processing activities.

The ICO has also launched a data sharing information hub, where businesses can access targeted support and resources.

Resources include, case studies, addressing data sharing myths, exploring the basics of the new code, data sharing FAQs, and how to share personal data with law enforcement.

Denham added that the publication of the code was not a conclusion but a milestone in data sharing: "This code demonstrates that the legal framework is an enabler to responsible data sharing and busts some of the myths that currently exist.

“I want my code of practice to be part of a wider effort to address the technical, organisational and cultural challenges for data sharing. The ICO will be at the forefront of a collective effort, engaging with key stakeholders. I know I can count on a collective effort from practitioners and government to understand the code and work with the ICO to embed it.”

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