Belfast Telegraph

Information watchdog urges businesses to build 'culture of confidence'

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has called for businesses to be more honest with consumers and "lead the way" in building "a culture of data confidence" in the UK.

The "impetus" is on businesses to understand the risks of personal data and ensure information is "kept safe from the bad guys", Ms Denham said in her first speech since starting the role in July.

Eight million UK users were affected by a breach of Yahoo data last week, while technology giants WhatsApp and Facebook have faced questions over data sharing.

Ms Denham, who previously served as the Commissioner at the Officer of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, has said that "serious questions" must be asked of Yahoo after the cyber attack.

Speaking at the Achieving Growth Through Trust conference in central London, Ms Denham acknowledged that data laws "bring challenges" to "technological innovations", but stressed: "I do not believe data protection law is standing in the way of your success. It's not privacy or innovation - it's privacy and innovation."

"It's your job, it's your company's job, to understand the risks you're creating for others, and to mitigate them," she added.

Ms Denham said the British public did not trust businesses with data and said the "fundamental objective" of her five-year term as commissioner was to "build a culture of data confidence in the UK".

She urged businesses to take their responsibility to consumers seriously.

"We don't just need you to tag along. We need you and your companies to lead the way," she told the conference.

"We want to hold companies up as great examples of how privacy and technology can work for consumers."