New expert network to advise on keeping your data safe

Jul 02, 2013

A new expert network which helps organisations safely manage and share sensitive data has been launched.

The UK Anonymisation Network (UKAN) will advise organisations and companies on how to minimise the risk that personal details of individual people are inadvertently revealed when data are used to create valuable services.

It was initiated and funded by the UK Information Commissioner, supported by The University of Manchester, the Open Data Institute, the Office for National Statistics and the University of Southampton.

It is led by Dr Mark Elliot, based at The University of Manchester's School of Social Sciences.

The network aims to establish best practice in anonymisation and offer practical advice and information to anyone who handles personal data and needs to share it. This is particularly relevant in sectors such as health, education and policing.

It will advise on technological issues, issues relating to the Freedom of Information Act and how researchers can access .

Its core membership of experienced professional information managers and leading privacy researchers will help provide case studies and examples of best practice.

Dr Elliot said: "Because technology is rapidly changing, and because so many more organisations collect data nowadays, privacy is one of the big issues facing society.

"There are many positive things associated with these changes but things can go wrong, so we must ensure they happen in the right way and effective anonymisation is a vital part of that."

The Network will help organisations deliver the Government's Transparency Initiative, which promotes greater openness of Government departments, public bodies, companies and other institutions.

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, of the University of Southampton and Chairman and co-founder of the Open Data Institute, said: "If we are to harness the power of open data to support innovative services, increase accountability and empower citizens, we will need to ensure trust is retained.

"If data is available online, then the public must be confident that citizens' personal details will remain concealed."

Christopher Graham, UK Information Commissioner, said: "If correctly deployed, anonymised data can have important benefits - aiding privacy by design, increasing the transparency of government and supporting the UK's widely regarded research community. It is vital that existing and emerging data protection risks are properly assessed by data controllers who wish to anonymise data. The work of UKAN will help build on the recommendations laid down in the ICO's data protection code of practice on managing the risks related to anonymisation which we published last year. The will also provide important best practice advice on how data can be successfully anonymised in compliance with the UK Data Protection Act."

Explore further: Clinton email policy violated Obama administration guidance

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU, Merkel to raise NSA program with US officials

Jun 10, 2013

Senior European Union officials will question their American counterparts about previously undisclosed U.S. surveillance programs during a trans-Atlantic ministerial meeting in Dublin starting Thursday.

Recommended for you

Facebook help a matter of timing

10 hours ago

Getting a response to a request for assistance on social media may have more to do with your request's timing than how many followers you have, research suggests.

Supreme Court allows challenge to Colorado Internet tax law

Mar 03, 2015

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that federal courts can hear a dispute over Colorado's Internet tax law. One justice suggested it was time to reconsider the ban on state collection of sales taxes from companies outside ...

Clinton ran own computer system for her official emails

Mar 03, 2015

The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails—on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state—traced back to an Internet ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.