The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is recommending organisations to start using privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) to share people’s personal information safely, securely and anonymously.
These types of technologies open unprecedented opportunities for organisations to harness the power of personal data through innovative and trustworthy applications, by allowing them to share, link and analyse people’s personal information without having access to it.
PETs can be used to share anonymised personal information to detect and prevent financial crimes and related harms such as fraud, money laundering, and cybercrimes.
The ICO has launched new PETs guidance, which is aimed at data protection officers and others who are using large personal data sets in finance, healthcare, research, and central and local government.
John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner, said: “If your organisation shares large volumes of data, particularly special category data, we recommend that over the next five years you start considering using PETs.
“PETs enable safe data sharing and allow organisations to make the best use of the personal data they hold, driving innovation.
“My office is committed to supporting UK businesses to develop and innovate with new technologies that respect people’s privacy and this guidance helps them to do that.”
PETs can help organisations comply with principles with data protection law by offering a secure environment, building data protection in from the beginning of a project, and minimising the amount of data that needs to be collected and retained.
Mr Edwards recently attended the G7 roundtable meeting in Tokyo to discuss developments and risks of generative AI technologies from a data protection and privacy perspective.
He said: “Together with our G7 counterparts, we are focused on facilitating and driving international support for responsible and innovative adoption of PETs, by researching and addressing barriers to adoption with clear guidance and examples of best practice.
“We are also looking ahead at emerging technologies, such as the rapid development and deployment of generative AI technologies, to ensure organisations across the world are innovating in a way that respects people’s information and privacy.”
Concerns can be reported to the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113, or at ico.org.uk/concerns.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and information rights law, upholding information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.