The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has opened the beta phase of its research and development Sandbox for organisations using personal data.
The beta phase of the Sandbox, which is open to applications, will enable participants to work through how they use personal data in their projects with the ICO’s specialist staff to help ensure they comply with data protection rules.
It will also ensure that innovative products and services are not in breach of data protection legislation.
The Sandbox beta phase offers a free, professional, fully functioning service for approximately 10 organisations, of varying types and sizes, across a number of sectors.
The ICO will consider applications from start-ups, SMEs and large organisations, across private, public and voluntary sectors.
The regulator will assess applications on the basis of whether the product or service being developed is innovative and can provide a potential demonstrable benefit to the public. Public benefit will be determined in terms of both breadth – the amount of people benefitting – and depth – the extent to which they benefit.
Simon McDougall, executive director for technology and innovation at the ICO, said: “Thousands of organisations are working on projects using personal data to transform the way we live and work. We want to support this innovation whilst helping ensure that the products and services under development are compliant and deliver benefits to the public.
“Our Sandbox will provide the environment that organisations need to test new concepts and technologies. The lessons we learn together may identify more fundamental questions with broader implications for data protection, and could ultimately inform the development of new guidance or codes of conduct in particular sectors to pave the way for further innovation.”