ICO seeks charity views on employers' use of data

Charities are being asked for their views on how employers use personal data as part of a consultation on a planned update to the Information Commissioner's guidance. 

The Information Commissioner's Office is calling on charitiesas well as businesses and unions, to help the regulator support employers to use artificial intelligence and other new technologies without affecting people's privacy.

The ICO plans to update its existing employment code to include online resources that reflect changing working practices. 

In a blog post, Anulka Clarke, ICO’s acting director of regulatory assurance, wrote: “Artificial intelligence and machine learning are impacting the ways decisions are made about workers; monitoring technologies are more varied and widespread in use; and the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly accelerated the trend for remote working and for obtaining health data.

"When used in the workplace, these developments and other similar issues can impact on people’s privacy.

"It’s vital that employers understand how they can operate in the changing environment and build trust with their workers when it comes to protecting their information rights."

But she said data protection requirements were not a barrier to using new technologies, and they could even be used to improve and develop employment practices. 

“Data protection enables innovation to happen responsibly, it builds trust between employers and workers," she said.

"Innovation itself enables economic growth which is vital as we look towards a post pandemic future.”

The ICO said it aimed to create employment guidance for the benefit of employers and staff that was applicable across different sectors. 

An ICO spokeswoman said: "We are keen to hear from everyone who has an interest in UK employment practices, so that would definitely include charities."

The ICO's survey on the plans to update the guidance can be found here.

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