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ICO launches latest phase of privacy innovation grants programme

Applications are now open for the third round of funding from the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) grants programme.

The scheme, which began in 2017, supports privacy and data protection initiatives that have practical applications and will have a public benefit.

Previously funded projects culminated in outputs including a privacy tool that assists the public in upholding their data rights in the insurance and banking sectors as well as a toolkit for young people, parents, carers and educators that works to help keep children safe online.

Lynne Currie, Head of Innovation at the ICO, said:

“Innovation in data protection makes people’s lives better. These initiatives make improvements to our daily lives, whether it’s finding new ways to protect children or vulnerable individuals online, or creating ways to safeguard people’s data protection rights in relation to complex technology.

“The UK has a vibrant research community, and in this data driven world it’s important to us that we support privacy and data protection initiatives to address the issues of the day.”

Organisations are invited to bid for a grant to support independent research and projects. The ICO is seeking proposals that meet one or more of the six strategic goals set out in the ICO’s Information Rights Strategic Plan and provide a clear public benefit with outputs that are open source and re-usable. Examples of areas we are interested in include:

  • Data protection issues and solutions for vulnerable adults and communities.
  • Artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning. In particular, research that would support effective transparency or verifiable audit trails.
  • Data protection safeguards for the ethical use of emerging biometric and facial recognition technology in the private and public sectors.
  • Children’s’ data and privacy including solutions that support the ICO’s Age Appropriate Design Code.
  • Tools and techniques to minimise intrusion and reduce risk when sharing personal data.

Further information about the Grants Programme, including eligibility, funding and outcome expectations is available on the ICO’s new dedicated web portal. The portal also contains details and output from the completed and ongoing projects from previous rounds. It is hoped that data protection professionals and academics alike will utilise these outputs to continue to innovate across the privacy sphere.

A webinar for potential applicants, discussing the programme in more detail, will take place on Tuesday 4 February. You can register to take part here.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Tuesday 10 March 2020.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  3. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law which applies in the UK from 25 May 2018. Its provisions are included in the Data Protection Act 2018. The Act also includes measures related to wider data protection reforms in areas not covered by GDPR, such as law enforcement and security. The UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.
  4. Under the GDPR, the data protection principles set out the main responsibilities for organisations. Article 5 of the GDPR requires that personal data shall be:
    • Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
    • Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes;
    • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
    • Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date
    • Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary;
    • Processed using appropriate technical or organisational measures in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data;” and
    • Article 5(2) requires that “the controller shall be responsible for, and be able to demonstrate, compliance with the principles.”
  5. The ICO Grants programme will be run in line with our obligations as a public body to account for our expenditure and value for money. We have chosen to run the programme in accordance with the UK Government’s Minimum Grant Standards. Further details on the requirements can be found at Grants Standards – GOV.UK.
  6. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.

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