ICO consults public on personal data in employment practices

by Jeremy

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a consultation on employers’ use of personal data, including in workplace monitoring technologies, which will be used to update its existing Employment Practices guidance.

On 12 August 2021, the ICO’s acting director of regulatory assurance, Anulka Clarke, published a blog about data protection and employment practices, in which she introduced the regulator’s call for views.

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“In recent times, working life has changed for millions of us in a way few could have predicted,” she said. “Every industry sector and its workers have been impacted—both in the public and private sector, and businesses large and small.

“Artificial intelligence [AI] and machine learning are impacting the ways decisions are made about workers; monitoring technologies are more varied and widespread in use, and the pandemic has suddenly accelerated the trend for remote working and for obtaining health data.”

Because of the impact these developments and others can have on people’s privacy, she added that it was vital that employers understand how they can operate in a changing business environment and build trust with workers over their information rights. The digital monitoring tools available today allow enterprises to see a range of information about their employees’ activities, from recording their keystrokes and mouse clicks to tracking their physical location and using applications or websites.

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