ICO regards "legitimate interest" a potential ground for big data processing - DAC Beachcroft

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ICO regards "legitimate interest" a potential ground for big data processing

Published 18 junio 2015

The ICO has released its feedback report on its paper "Big data and data protection" originally published on 28 July 2014.

Of particular interest is the recognition by the ICO that consent is not the only ground which can legitimise big data processing and that in certain circumstances data controllers can rely on Schedule 2, paragraph 6 – "legitimate interests".

One respondent to the original report had opined that the report "focussed too much on consent as a condition and that it is not always practical to obtain this in a big data context". They advanced that "the paper did not sufficiently recognise the relevance of the legitimate interests condition for processing personal data".

In response, the ICO acknowledged that consent was not the only condition that could legitimise personal data processing. The ICO states "any of the conditions listed in the Data Protection Act and the Data Protection Directive can legitimise the processing of personal data. The need to balance the legitimate interests of the data controller with the rights and freedoms of individuals is a key theme in our paper. We agree also that this is consistent with organisational accountability."

The ICO concluded it will make some revisions to the paper and re-issue it in the light of this feedback in summer 2015.

Please click here to view the ICO's "Summary of feedback on Big data and data protection and ICO response" paper.

What action could be taken to manage risks that may arise from this development?

None at present. Any new Big Data projects should consider the current Big Data guidance.


Helen Faulkner

Helen Faulkner

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)117 918 2225

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