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ICO powerless to audit organisations that cause data protection concern

Following Christopher Graham’s revelation that there is a ‘systematic’ problem with data breaches in the NHS, he has now complained that he is ‘powerless to insist on auditing organisations in local government, the health service and the public sector’ – even though the majority of data breaches come from these sectors alone.

Currently, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) must get consent from an organisation in order to be audited. Graham, Chief Information Commissioner thinks “something is clearly wrong when the regulator has to ask permission from the organisations causing us concern before we can audit their data protection practices”.

“Helping the healthcare sector, local government and businesses to handle personal data better are top priorities, and yet we are powerless to get in there and find out what is really going on.”.

Graham added: “With more data being collected about all of us than ever before, greater audit powers are urgently needed to ensure that the people handling our data are doing a proper job.”

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