“The sandbox will help companies and public bodies deliver new products and services of real benefit to the public.”
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a sandbox for companies working with potentially sensitive datasets – and today announced the first 10 companies selected for the beta programme.
The project follows the success of a sandbox programme run by the Financial Conduct Authority, which selected its first cohort in 2016.
Such sandboxes are designed to give support for companies that need to test innovative (and potentially sensitive) projects in a controlled environment, reducing their regulatory pain points as they test ideas.
Applicants will be tested and scrutinised for data compliance during their programme. Elizabeth Denham the Information Commissioner commented: “The sandbox will help companies and public bodies deliver new products and services… with assurance that they have tackled built-in data protection at the outset.”
New ICO Sandbox: The First 10 Companies Selected
1 Heathrow Airport
The UK’s largest travel hub Heathrow Airport is aiming to use biometrics and facial recognition technology to speed up passenger journeys as they check-in and pass through security gates.
Currently if you are traveling through the airport you will be asked for ID at several points. Heathrow Airport envisages a situation where those willing to use biometric technology can easily pass through the airport in a frictionless way on the way to their destination.
Monetary flow analytics firm FutureFlow is designing a forensic analytics platform that monitors the movement of funds within the financial system. The platform will facilitate the cross sharing of data between financial institutions, regulators and agencies in order to curb electronic financial crime.
3 Greater London Authority
The Greater London Authority is aiming to reduce the levels of crime in the capital with the implementation of a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU). The VRU will seek to reduce crime by integrating health, social and crime data while working in collaboration with the relevant authorities.
Higher Education and research digital resource provider Jisc is developing a code of practice that it will use in universities and colleges that are studying student activity data with the aim to improve student support services.
5 NHS Digital
NHS Digital is designing a database that will manage and hold the patient consent records it is gathering that allow the health to share this data for secondary use purposes, including medical research and regulated clinical trials.
6 Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited
UK Pharmaceuticals firm Novartis is investigating whether it can use voice technology within the healthcare sector to simplify patient care. They are currently working with engineers on voice healthcare solutions and are working with the ICO to help mitigate the potential data privacy risks posed by this emerging technology.
TrustElevate creates software that facilitates secure authentication and authorisation for under 16 year olds. It is working with the ICO to help companies comply with age related regulatory requirements.
Verification software enterprise Onfido will work with the ICO to identify and mitigate algorithmic bias in machine learning models used for remote biometric-based identity verification.
9 Tonic Analytics
The Galileo Programme (not the space one) was launched in 2017, and is a joint endeavour between the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Highways England and data analytics firm Tonic Analytics.
Tonic Analytics is aiming to use data to reduce serious and fatal accidents on UK roads. A key part of this will be done by predicting events that will lead to network disruptions causing delays and dangerous situations.
10 The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government
The government agency responsible for housing and local government is trying to build a database of personal information relating to Blackpool private renters. This database will be controlled by multiple parties, including Blackpool Council and the Department of Work and Pensions.
The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government wants to better understand the private rented sector in Blackpool, who lives there, and how they can help improve the quality of properties.
The ICO commented that: “Engaging with businesses and innovators in the sandbox is also a valuable exercise in horizon scanning – the ICO can identify new developments in technology and innovation and the potential opportunities and challenges they may provide.”