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ICO's new Information Commissioner launches probe into Yahoo data breach

(Image credit: Image Credit: Gil C / Shutterstock)

The UK's new Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham has revealed that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has already questioned Yahoo over its huge data breach and that its is currently looking to investigate WhatsApp and other companies owned by Facebook in regard to their data sharing arrangements.

In her first speech as Information Commissioner, Denham made it clear that the ICO intends to pursue its investigations in a careful manner to ensure that they align with the interests of the general public.

She made the office's concern regarding the recent Yahoo leak clear in a recent interview, saying: “Last Friday, the ICO stepped in to ask questions about the Yahoo data breach which involved eight million UK accounts. Why did it take so long for Yahoo to notify the public? It looks like it happened two years ago. What can these account holders do to protect themselves?”

The ICO is also actively reviewing data sharing between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies since “all of this is about transparency and individual control.” The office has decided to come down hard after a recent ruling in Germany over how the two companies shared data without the consent of their users.

Denham also announced that the ICO will be appointing a chief technology adviser which will allow the watchdog to better keep pace with the fast nature of the areas it oversees. 

She explained the decision further, saying: “We are building on our own capacity for technology by analysing more, researching more and embedding technology into the future of the CIO.  We are also seeking partnerships with universities, and we aim to support research into privacy by design solutions.” 

Image Credit: Gil C / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.