ICO publishes guidance on content moderation

ICO publishes guidance on content moderation

European Data Protection Board and Information Commissioners Office release guidance on COVID-19 and the GDPR

Last month the ICO published guidance on data protection as it applies to content moderation. The guidance is a product of a collaboration between the ICO and Ofcom on data protection and online safety technologies and is available on the ICO’s website. It addresses the data protection principles in the context of content moderation as well as offering guidance on data subjects’ rights, transfers of personal information outside the UK and automated decision making.

The guidance highlights, amongst other important points that:

  • The personal information that may be affected extends beyond a data subject’s name and can include IP addresses, online identifiers like social media handles as well as information about users such as age and geographical location.
  • Content moderation is likely to cause a significant risk to data subjects’ rights and freedoms. Consequently, a DPIA should be carried out before processing begins and organisations should ensure that they approach content moderation from a data protection by design and default approach.
  • Certain types of content moderation can collect more data than is necessary to achieve the necessary purpose. Where it is possible to make content moderation decisions based on content alone, that is the approach to take. However, where personal information is required organisations should ensure that processing the data is necessary and that no less intrusive option is available. 
  • Where an automated programme makes content moderation decisions based on parameters that humans have already decided on, that is not likely to constitute solely automated decision making. However, any automated decision making that goes beyond exact matches of pre-defined content is more likely to be solely automated decision making.

Given the importance of content moderation to many organisations, this guidance is a welcome insight into how the ICO views data protection issues as they relate to the process. Organisations who undertake content moderation may also want to keep an eye out for the updates the ICO plan to make to the guidance to reflect developments in technology and the online safety codes of practice that Ofcom are presently finalising.

Contact our experts for further advice

Search our site