ASA Chief Jumps Ship To Become Information Commissioner

Christopher Graham, the current chief of Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), is all set to become the next information watchdog after the retirement of existing Information Commissioner Richard Thomas in June.

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, has proposed Graham’s name as a potential candidate for replacing Richard Thomas.

Before he assumes the new role, the House of Commons justice selection committee will evaluate Graham’s suitability for this coveted post. Graham is serving as ASA’s director since April 2009, and before joining ASA, he had also served BBC for long.

In addition, the ASA head said that director general of ASA has been one of the best jobs for him, and now that he has been doing it since nine years, he wishes to delegate the responsibility to someone else.

Commenting upon his proposed appointment as the Information Commissioner, Graham said in a statement, “Meanwhile, the information commissioner is so much at the centre of debates on information security, privacy, better government and the right to know that I am keen to take on this new challenge”.

On the other hand, during his six year tenure as Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas has overtly criticized government’s data handling policies, especially after the HMRC debacle when details of 25 million beneficiaries of Child benefit allowances went missing, and he condemned in strong words chief execs for “careless and inexcusable” data infringements.

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Our Comments

Will Graham bring in fresh blood to the role of Information Commissioner? Hopefully yes. Information handling has been in the limelight several times and the stance adopted by the current government is likely to make the role of Information commissioner pivotal as collecting, processing and maintaining data becomes more important.

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Christopher Graham to be new Information Commissioner

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Advertising Standards chief to be next Information Commissioner

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