Data Protection Officer Job Description
It seems that with every passing week, people are becoming more aware of both the threats to their data privacy and the rights they have under the UK’s data protection laws. In response, many organisations are putting greater emphasis on data compliance and are hiring specialists to ensure they meet their information security obligations.
The European Parliament recently encouraged firms to hire such specialists – widely known as data protection officers (DPOs) – in preparation for the new EU data protection directive, which is still in the drafting stage.
The primary job of the DPO – AKA data compliance officer or data privacy officer – is to ensure an organisation’s use of data is compliant with legislation. In a recent job ad, bagless vacuum pioneer Dyson said it wanted its DPO to “achieve efficient management of Dyson information, while optimising its effectiveness and maintaining compliance with global information-related laws and regulations”. British Gas, meanwhile, is on the hunt for a DPO who “will provide pragmatic and commercially-focused privacy and data protection advice across British Gas and Centrica”.
Daniel Pradelles, HP’s privacy officer EMEA, explained that his role involved liaising with several different business functions internally, as well as regulators externally.
“Each of HP’s three privacy officers (one for each region), is in charge of internally managing a team, and ensuring that the marketing, product team and developers are adhering to the law, and to HP’s policy in terms of data protection and privacy. Externally, I have to be in touch with all of the regulators in Europe – with the European parliament in Brussels and the local regulators in France and the UK, ” he told Computing.
But Pradelles believes that current EU legislation should be harmonised, as currently there is too much variation in the way it is implemented.
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Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has previously called for councils to take their responsibilities for protecting personal data more seriously. He said in 2012: “There is clearly an underlying problem with data protection in local government.”.