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MHCLG among first participants selected for ICO Sandbox

  • 31/07/2019
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MHCLG among first participants selected for ICO Sandbox
The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is among the first 10 participants to be selected in the beta phase of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) data protection Sandbox.


The 10 projects include the use of biometrics to speed up airport passenger journeys, innovations in crime prevention and technological advances in the health sector. 

Other products and services which will be tested and scrutinised for compliance with data protection law will include innovations in housing, road traffic management, student welfare and tackling bias in artificial intelligence. 

FutureFlow, Greater London Authority, Heathrow Airport Ltd, Jisc, NHS Digital, Onfido, Tonic Analytics and TrustElevate were the other nine projects chosen from the 64 applicants. 

A spokesperson for MHCLG said its project sought to create a dataset that would allow MHCLG to “understand more about the private rented sector in Blackpool, who lives there, and how [it] can help improve the quality of properties.”


Playing in the sandbox

The sandbox is a new ICO service which will support organisations developing innovative products and services using personal data with a clear public benefit. Participants will be able to draw on the body’s expertise and advice on data protection by design, mitigating any risks as they test innovations, while ensuring appropriate protections and safeguards are in place. 

Elizabeth Denham, information commissioner, said: “The ICO supports innovation in technology and exciting new uses of data, while ensuring that people’s privacy and legal rights are protected. We have always said that privacy and innovation are not mutually exclusive and there doesn’t need to be an either-or choice between the two. 

“The sandbox will help companies and public bodies deliver new products and services of real benefit to the public, with assurance that they have tackled built-in data protection at the outset.” 

“Engaging with businesses and innovators in the sandbox is also a valuable exercise in horizon scanning – the ICO can identify new developments in technology and innovation and the potential opportunities and challenges they may provide,” she added. 

The next stage of the process will be to agree and develop detailed plans for each participant before work starts on testing products and services. It is expected that all participants will have exited the sandbox by September 2020. 


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