On July 7, 2010, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office published a new code of practice for the collection of personal data online.  Launching the new code at a data protection conference, UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said, “the benefits of the internet age are clear: the chance to make more contacts, quicker transactions and greater convenience.  But there are risks too.  A record of our online activity can reveal our most personal interests.  Get privacy right and you will retain the trust and confidence of your customers and users; mislead consumers or collect information you don’t need and you are likely to diminish customer trust and face enforcement action from the ICO.”

While the new code is not legally binding, it does offer useful “best practice” advice to organizations that collect personal data online.  In particular, the code provides guidance on controversial issues such as behavioral advertising, cloud computing and the use of cookies.  “Organizations must be transparent so that consumers can make online privacy choices and see how their information will be used.  Individuals can take control by checking their privacy settings and being careful about the amount of personal details they post to social networking sites and elsewhere online,” said Mr. Graham.