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ICO publishes discussion paper on profiling under the GDPR

The ICO gives its initial thoughts on how the GDPR will affect the growing practice of profiling using personal data.

The UK’s data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is taking steps to prepare for contributing to upcoming European guidance on profiling under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into effect on 25 May 2018.

The ICO has published a discussion paper detailing its initial thoughts on some key issues in relation to profiling under the GDPR. The ICO asked for stakeholders to respond to the discussion paper with their feedback and comments in order to help contribute towards the guidance on profiling which is set to be published later this year by the Article 29 Working Party (WP29), the EU data protection advisory body.

Profiling is broadly defined under the GDPR to cover a wide range of data processing activities “consisting of the use of personal data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person” including targeted advertising, online credit decisions and e-Recruiting.

According to the ICO, the more detailed profiling provisions of the GDPR reflect the fact that there is now more widespread availability of personal data on the internet and advances in technology which, coupled with the capabilities of big data analytics, mean that profiling is becoming a much wider issue.

The discussion paper further notes that profiling is not as transparent as other forms of processing, can emphasise stereotypes and creates new data that is regulated by the GDPR.

Whilst attempts to incorporate provisions into the GDPR to restrict profiling completely failed during the legislative process, the incoming law does restrict automated decisions in certain circumstances and allows for further guidance to be published on the issue.

WAB Comment

Businesses which perform profiling may wish to submit their feedback to the discussion paper to ensure that the WP29 guidance is as relevant and helpful as possible. The WP29 guidance will no doubt be welcomed by such businesses as they look to ensure they are compliant with the GDPR as it comes into effect next May.

Read the ICO discussion paper here.

Read all White & Black’s blog posts on the GDPR here.

This blog post was written by Amelia Day, trainee solicitor at White & Black.

Disclaimer: This article is produced for and on behalf of White & Black Limited, which is a limited liability company registered in England and Wales with registered number 06436665. It is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The contents of this article should be viewed as opinion and general guidance, and should not be treated as legal advice.

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