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News shots …. 25 May 2017



ICO to assess data analytics in politics

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched an investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes. It will take in exploring practices used during last year’s EU referendum campaign and others.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham (pictured) said it is a complex and rapidly evolving area that has the potential to impact on people’s privacy, and that there is a need for more transparency around the techniques used.

“Shining a light on such practices will require detailed investigative work and engagement with a range of organisations – political parties and campaigns, data companies and social media platforms, as well as international cooperation,” she said, adding that the investigation has been given a high priority.


DAERA claims record use of online Single Applications

Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has claimed a record take-up of its online Single Applications process for farm subsidies, with 99.53% of farmers using the service while it was open between 1 March and 15 May.  The total number of online applications was 24,783.

Jason Foy, head of payments at DAERA, said: “This positive result demonstrates that farmers have recognised the advantages of online application over paper, such as reducing the possibility of simple errors and reducing the time taken to carry out validation checks.”


Survey shows public concerns over personal data

Two-thirds of the public are concerned about whether their health records are properly protected by public services and companies, according to the findings of a survey by cloud services company UKCloud Health.

Its questioning of more than 2,000 people revealed that 75% are also concerned about whether their personal data is protected, and 72% are worried about their identifiable data. In addition, 82% said that government should seek their permission before storing and processing their data with non-UK businesses, although only 20% said it should only work with UK firms.

The company’s chief executive officer, Simon Hansford, said: “There is clearly a significant trust issue when it comes to public perception of personal data protection.”


Stockport gives web presence to community groups

Stockport Council has launched a new directory of community groups and activities on its website. It involves a list different types of activity displaying the groups closest to where the user lives.

Steve Skelton, the council’s head of policy, said: “Our research showed that there was no single place for information on community groups and activities in Stockport so we have created this directory to make it easier for everyone to find the information they need.”

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