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ICO consults on privacy enhancing technologies in healthcare


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is planning a consultation on the privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) in healthcare.

It has invited organisations in the sector to take part in a series of workshops, saying it wants to set out how PETs can facilitate safe, legal and valuable data sharing in health and understand what is needed to help organisations use the technologies.

The information gathered from the workshops will help it develop updated guidance and advice.

PETs refer to a broad range of processes and approaches for protecting personal data. The ICO said they can help organisations to implement and improve data protection by design though traditional methods such as encryption or more advanced solutions, but that their adoption has been slow.

Stephen Almond, director of technology and innovation at the ICO, said: “Privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) help organisations build trust and unlock the potential of data by putting data protection by design into practice.

“The healthcare sector handles highly sensitive data that could lead to life changing, life saving innovations. Yet organisations are not tapping into the benefits of PETs and we want to find out how to help them adopt these emerging technologies.”

The ICO said it is working with innovation company Plexal on the exercise, and organisations can sign up to take part until 14 Feburary.

It added that it ICO will use the conclusions to outline solutions and roadmaps for safe and lawful data sharing in sectors beyond healthcare. The project will also feed into updates of its own guidance on the adoption of PETs.

Image from iStock, Naeblys

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