The European Commission’s revised data protection framework proposals include provisions intended to encourage the use of data protection privacy seals, certification mechanisms and trust marks.  These provisions would allow data subjects to instantly assess the privacy standards applied by data controllers and processors, thereby providing the comfort that data subjects often seek.  The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (the “ICO”) supports the use of privacy seals and has issued an online survey to gather feedback on how privacy seals may be used to improve data protection compliance and customer privacy awareness. 

The ICO is, according to its website, seeking opinions on: 

  1. The best ways of implementing privacy seal schemes in the UK;
  2. Assessing organisations’ appetites for signing up to such schemes and hearing from companies who are operating such schemes;
  3. Gathering views about practical experience in operating such schemes and what the commercial benefits are; and
  4. Understanding if organisations have any reservations to the implementation of privacy seals. 

 The survey can be accessed on line at: http://www.snapsurveys.com/swh/surveylogin.asp?k=134754317286 and is open until 30 November 2012.