The ICO Welcomes 2019

As 2019 kicks into gear, I can't help but look back at the last 12 months. For me, 2018 was the year that privacy and data security went mainstream - the year that people woke up to the potential of their personal data. Inboxes got clogged up with emails from companies keen to comply with new data protection laws and suddenly the GDPR became an unlikely dinner table topic.

Our investigation into the inner workings of data-driven political campaigns and the revelations in the Cambridge Analytica - Facebook case, galvanised policy makers and put data protection at the top of the news agenda. Data rights have scored a direct hit with the public too. I keep hearing about "digital detox". People, now better informed, who are clearing out apps and shutting down accounts in an effort to regain control of their digital self and sever ties with those who don't treat their data with proper, lawful respect. Data protection remains a priority internationally too. Last year I spoke at several events around the world and, in December, I headed south to speak to my fellow regulators in the Asia-Pacific region. I stopped in Hong Kong to meet with Commissioner Wong - they are out front in their thought leadership on digital ethics and accountability. I spoke to Asia Pacific regulators and other national bodies during my visit to New Zealand and, in India I met ministers and tech leaders in that emerging powerhouse.

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