Information Commissioner’s Office publishes first reports from the Regulatory Sandbox

In a blog post on its website, the ICO has announced publication of the first two reports from participants in the pilot phase of its regulatory sandbox scheme. The ICO says that the reports from JISC and Heathrow Airport Ltd mark the first steps towards achieving the aim of the sandbox: to show that data protection can be combined with real world innovative solutions.

JISC is a not-for-profit organisation serving the higher and further education and skills sectors. It champions the importance and potential of digital technologies for UK education and research. Within the sandbox, JISC has developed a Wellbeing Code of Practice with universities and colleges who want to investigate the use of student activity data to improve their provision of student support services.

Heathrow Airport’s Automation of the Passenger Journey programme aimed to streamline the passenger journey by using biometrics. Facial recognition technology would be offered at check-in, self-service bag drops and boarding gates to create a seamless experience for passengers travelling through the airport. Passengers would no longer have to present different forms of documentation, such as boarding cards and passports, at different points in their journey to prove their identity and show that they are authorised to travel.

The ICO says that this first phase of the sandbox has been a beneficial experience for all parties. Participants have gained an insight into how data protection does not hinder innovation and how the two can work together. They have also helped the ICO develop its views on compliance issues, which have informed its advice and guidance.

In turn, the ICO sandbox team has expanded its understanding of how it can support organisations that are striving to innovate in a world where technology is moving at a fast pace and people are increasingly aware of their privacy rights.

The ICO says that the successful trial run has given it the opportunity to introduce improvements ahead of the full launch. It will be publishing details about this, the new themes it will be focusing on, and how organisations can register their interest in the near future. To read the ICO blog post in full, click here.