Steve Wood Speaks to the Privacy Coalition

On Friday, December 7, 2018, Steve Wood, the Deputy Information Commissioner Officer for the UK, spoke to the Privacy Coalition during a luncheon at EPIC’s offices in Washington, DC.  Wood is a former senior lecturer of information management at Liverpool’s John Moores University and entered his role as  Deputy Commissioner for Information at the ICO in June 2017. His areas of focus are guidance, research, international activity, and technology policy within UK’s regulatory body for data protection.

The discussion centered on the impact of the GDPR and how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the landscape of privacy policy. According to Wood, there has been a 100 percent increase in those reporting privacy violations by companies. Although this increase sounds promising, the agency must still investigate the legitimacy of each claim. Are consumers reporting genuine privacy violations, or might the influx be a result of simply having a viable reporting mechanism?

Regardless of the underlying reasons for the influx in reporting, Wood says the agency has had to do things “much differently” from five years ago – by changing a few of its practices. For instance, many of those investigating privacy complaints have had to study Data Forensics. AI has added a new wrinkle in terms of staying ahead of the curve.

Marc Rotenberg, EPIC President, took a brief moment to mention the Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence – a human rights framework for AI, organized and drafted by the Public Voice. Wood acknowledged the importance of having AI frameworks, and went on to explain that the agency has started to take a serious interest in facial recognition and its potential uses since police in the UK have already started to use facial recognition technology.

Nonetheless, the ICO also has other AI concerns – like age appropriate design code and other privacy considerations for children. While AI has raised many questions, Wood is hoping that the agency will arrive at few new investigative solutions. One big question the group wants to tackle is: What does a modern privacy investigation look like? Wood says that the agency has hired its first ever AI Fellow to help the agency develop a framework for auditing AI.

For more information visit Defend Privacy. Support EPIC.