John Edwards began his term as UK Information Commissioner in January 2022. John was educated in New Plymouth, New Zealand and achieved a Bachelor of Laws and Masters in Public Policy at the University of Wellington.
He worked as a solicitor and barrister for more than 14 years, including time as a policy adviser to the New Zealand Prime Minister and Cabinet around Freedom of Information.]
From February 2014 to December 2021 he was New Zealand Privacy Commissioner. During that time he chaired the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (now known as the Global Privacy Assembly) and was a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Informal Group of Experts on Children in the Digital Environment.
Since taking office as UK Information Commissioner, John has set out his vision for the ICO to be a regulator that: empowers people to confidently share their information to use the services that drive the economy; empowers organisations to use information responsibly to innovate; and empowers people to hold government to account. He launched his strategic plan for the ICO in July 2022 after a listening tour of stakeholder views in his first few months.
John is focused on addressing harm to vulnerable communities and has published a Commissioner’s Opinion on the processing of victims’ personal data in rape and serious sexual offence investigations. He is also focussed on improving the application of freedom of information rights. He has published a report calling for a government review into the systemic risks and areas for improvement around the use of private correspondence channels.
As well as taking robust enforcement action in areas such as nuisance calls and misuse of facial recognition technology, John has set out a revised approach to public sector enforcement and marked the first anniversary of the children’s code, clarifying its scope.