Elizabeth Denham

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Elizabeth Denham
Tony Porter and Elizabeth Denham.jpg
Elizabeth Denham (right)
British Information Commissioner
Assumed office
18 July 2016[1][2]
Preceded by Christopher Graham
Personal details
Nationality Canadian
Residence England
Alma mater University of British Columbia

Elizabeth Denham is the UK Information Commissioner at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in Cheshire. She took over the role from Christopher Graham (who concluded his tenure on 28 June 2016) in July 2016. Denham previously held the title of Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia and was appointed to this role in May 2010. Prior to this she had been the Assistant Privacy Commissioner of Canada from 2007.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Denham studied at the University of British Columbia (UBC) from 1977 to 1984 and holds a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in archival studies from UBC's iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies).[4]


Since Denham was appointed UK Information Commissioner in July 2016, the ICO has undertaken high-profile investigations into Yahoo, Camelot, WhatsApp and Facebook.[5][6] Denham has also overseen the conclusion of the ICO’s investigation into charities' fundraising activities and a series of fines for companies behind nuisance marketing.

As of 2018, the commissioner and her office are currently focusing on the essential role data protection can play in innovation, and the importance of organizations understanding the growing onus on companies to be accountable for what they do with personal data. This forms a central part of the new General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in May 2018.[5]

During her time as Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, Denham called for the proactive disclosure of records[7] and published best practices for government ministries and public bodies.[8] She also co-authored a guidance document called Getting Accountability Right with a Privacy Management Program. While at the ICO, she has called for the Freedom of Information Act to be extended to private bodies doing work on behalf of the public, and proposed a review of legislation around the duty to document information.

Personal life[edit]

Denham was awarded the 2016 Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award for having been "a staunch advocate for access to information rights."[9] She also came third in the DataIQ Talent Awards.[10]

In 2011, Denham was honoured with the distinguished alumna award from UBC iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies) for her work in archives and the field of access and privacy.[11] In 2013, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her service as an officer of the legislature of British Columbia, Canada.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Elizabeth Denham to Start as New Information Commissioner" (Press release). Information Commissioner's Office. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  2. ^ "UK's New Information Commissioner Formally Appointed" (Press release). Government of the United Kingdom. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  3. ^ "Elizabeth Denham; Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, Canada" (PDF). The Canadian Bar Association. October 3–5, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2018. 
  4. ^ https://pacc-ccap.ca/congress/speakers-2/elizabeth-denham-2/
  5. ^ a b c "Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner". ico.org.uk. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018. 
  6. ^ "TalkTalk Fined £400,000 over Cyber Theft". 5 October 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  7. ^ Palmer, Vaughn (March 22, 2016). "B.C. Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham Moving on to Bigger Things". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 20 March 2018. 
  8. ^ "Guide to OIPC Processes". Office of the Information and Privacy Commission for British Columbia, (OIPC). Retrieved March 20, 2018. 
  9. ^ "Winner of the 2016 Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award". www.newswire.ca. Retrieved 2018-04-27. 
  10. ^ "The DataIQ 100 - 2018 - www.dataiq.co.uk". www.dataiq.co.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2018. 
  11. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Award". UBC iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies). Retrieved August 31, 2018. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Christopher Graham
UK Information Commissioner