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ICO opens consultation on use of privacy seals

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has opened a consultation for any interested parties which will investigate how privacy seals, certification mechanisms and trust marks can be used by organisations within the UK to increase levels of awareness about data protection compliance.

A privacy seal is a certification indicating that the organisation in question has achieved a high level of data protection compliance. Article 39 of the proposed new EU Data Protection Regulation includes a requirement on the EU member states and the European Commission to encourage the establishment of such data protection seals and marks. The aim of this new Article is to enable individuals to easily assess the levels of data protection being provided by organisations.

The ICO's consultation is the first step towards increasing the use of privacy seals within the UK. It contains a variety of questions about privacy seals, asking respondents to let the ICO know:

• whether their organisation is currently signed up to a seal or trust mark system (of any nature);

• what the respondent considers the benefits of such schemes to be;

• factors which would encourage or discourage respondents from signing up to such schemes; and

• whether the respondents would prefer to see a privacy seal scheme to be run and accredited by the ICO or by an independent third party.

For any interested parties who would like to respond to the questionnaire, it can be found under Related links. The deadline for submissions to the questionnaire is 30 November 2012.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at November 2012. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases; we cannot be held responsible for any action (or decision not to take action) made in reliance upon the content of this publication.

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