Were the ICO's TVP and MOJ reprimands too lenient?

23/06/2023 | ComputerWeekly

An article in ComputerWeekly criticises the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for issuing reprimands to Thames Valley Police (TVP) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The article questions whether the regulator chose the best course of action and argues the reprimands amount to no more than a slap on the wrist.

Alex Lawrence-Archer, a solicitor for specialist data protection law firm AWO, described reprimands as being at "the lowest end" of the enforcement powers available to the ICO, which do not create any enforceable obligations. If the ICO revisits these cases, it would need to commence new enforcement proceedings. 

While the TVP and MOJ reprimands fall within the approach for public sector enforcement laid out in June 2022, Lawrence-Archer remarked on the seriousness of the two cases. Lawrence-Archer said, “I think that what many people have been asking, and what many commentators have been asking themselves since seeing these reprimands, is does this mean that the ICO effectively would never fine a public body?" 

He went on to say, “where you seemingly have a policy developing of effectively never been willing to issue fines against public bodies, that raises some legitimate concerns”.

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