On 22 November Mishcon de Reya hosted the annual conference of NADPO (National Association of Data Protection Officers). The keynote speech was delivered by the Information Commissioner for the UK, John Edwards.
In his speech Mr Edwards affirmed what he describes as his new strategic approach to regulatory action, which focuses on "regulating for outcomes, not outputs". This will involve making use of, and publicising the use of, the range of enforcement actions available to him. While this includes fines, it also includes warnings, reprimands, compliance orders and limitation orders.
Mr Edwards also reiterated his recent decision only to fine public bodies for particularly egregious infringements. He was challenged from the floor and by NADPO chair Jon Baines (also Senior Data Protection Specialist at Mishcon de Reya) on the evidence basis for his contention that fines are not effective when levied on public bodies.
Other speakers at the event included the head of Mishcon de Reya's Competition group, Sarah Houghton, who spoke on the interplay between data protection and competition law, Alan Payne KC of 39 Essex Chambers and Aaron Moss of 5 Essex Court, on the Tortoise Media case, Maurice Frankel of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, Professor Victoria Nash of the Oxford Internet Institute, Lynn Wyeth of Leicester City Council, and NADPO's president Stewart Room.