ICO causes confusion over legality of police cloud providers

19/01/2024 | ComputerWeekly

The Information Commissioner Office (ICO) has caused confusion over the legality of police forces using US-based cloud providers to process sensitive law enforcement data. The news comes after Scottish biometric commissioner (SBC) Dr Brian Plastow sought advice from the ICO about the legality of Police Scotland using Microsoft's Azure cloud. 

At the time, Information Commissioner John Edwards indicated to Dr Plastow that the controversial cloud deployments were likely to be approved, citing an information-sharing deal between the US and UK governments that supersedes the UK's data protection laws. However, the letter containing this advice has since been taken down from the SBC website, and the ICO declined to comment on its contents or removal.

To clarify the situation, the ICO has said that UK police can use cloud services that send sensitive law enforcement data overseas with "appropriate protections" in place, albeit without specifying what those protections are.

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