ICO raids IBM to bring in new chief to head up tech unit

DataIQ News

The Information Commissioner’s has strengthened its expertise in the rapidly developing technology sector by appointing the boss of IBM-owned risk management and regulatory compliance consulting firm Promontory as executive director for technology policy and innovation.

In this newly-created role, Simon McDougall will lead new approaches to information rights practice and promoting the legally compliant processing of personal data as a core element of new technologies and business systems.

The ICO unveiled its first technology strategy earlier this year, which set out plans for training and new appointments, as well as for work on three priority areas: cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and device tracking.

McDougall's experience - he founded and led Promontory's global privacy practice following spells at Deloitte and Arthur Andersen - will prove invaluable to the ICO's efforts to keep up to date with the technology that is fuelling a revolution in data protection.

He has extensive experience of working across a wide range of sectors and jurisdictions on privacy, compliance, digital initiatives and innovation.

McDougall has also served on the board of directors and the European Advisory Board at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) along with many other consultative and advisory groups.

He said: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to join the ICO and lead their work in this critical area. Technological change continues to accelerate, and it is vital that the ICO remains constructively and robustly engaged as organisations innovate in the use of personal data.”

Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “We have ambitious plans for our work in the crucial area of technology and also to ensure we are an innovative regulator, open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

“As a globally respected figure in the world of privacy and innovation, Simon is a great fit for this new role, which will strengthen our expertise and responsiveness to new challenges and opportunities.”

Earlier this year, the ICO secured a major concession from the Treasury to abandon the regulator’s strict pay structure as it seeks to combat a “brain drain” triggered by increased competition from both the public and private sector for privacy experts.