Thursday, 20 February 2014

Hurrah! Two more years!!

Well, it’s happened. Commissioner Graham’s tenure has been extended by two years. He’ll be strapped to the helm of the ICO while it goes through what can only be described as interesting times. It will be another Government that decides who ought to replace him in the summer of 2016.

The recent, and impending, departure of other high profile data protection regulators from the European scene ought make it harder for the those who see data protection more in terms of a tick exercise to thrive. Christopher Graham’s continued presence on the Article 29 Working Party will make it easier for him to spread his more pragmatic vision about how good data protection standards should be implemented across Europe. Those who might have wished for him to be removed from the European scene have had their hopes dashed.

The next few years in Wilmslow (and in Brussels) are not going to be easy. And, it becomes ever harder to expect that institutions like the ICO should do “more” with “less”, but that is the current political ask.  We’ve seen the difficulties that the Environment Agency is experiencing, reconciling savage budget cuts with the need to address our changing climate. Let’s hope that the ICO won’t face a similar debacle should a new data crisis emerge for which we are all woefully unprepared.

Anyway, Commissioner Graham will be the star turn at his Data Protection Practitioner Conference in Manchester on 3 March. I predict that he’ll enter the stage to coloured lights, tumultuous applause, and as the dry ice wafts away, the ICO Chorus will chant:

Two more years, two more years
Well known in international spheres
He who will valliantly persevere
In the fight against the dodgy data racketeer

Meeting conference conventioneers
Drinking wine that rots your teeth veneers
Grazing on canapés, Belgium beer
And a rather fine asparagus spear

While in the office:

Leading teams of pragmatic pioneers
Few officials are wet behind the ears
Then all too soon into a better paid career
And all too frequently they will disappear

Data subjects – some in tears
Setting out their deepest fears
Of sneaky stuff by an internet app engineer
Clueless about any legal frontier

24 more monthly salary payments in arrears
Then salvation reappears
Awarded with a gong as a souvenir
And into another world he’ll disappear

Lighting up the true path through this regulatory mayhem
Let’s raise three cheers for Christopher Graham

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