Canadian information-rights watchdog Elizabeth Denham has been selected as the UK government’s first choice to succeed Information Commissioner Christopher Graham this year.
Denham is currently information and privacy commissioner for British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, a post she has held since 2010.
Culture secretary John Whittingdale announced today that Denham had been selected to succeed the current information commissioner for a five-year term starting this summer, pending approval by parliament’s Culture Media and Sport Select Committee.
Graham has been information commissioner since 2009, and saw his initial five-year term extended by two years. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that under the terms of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, he cannot be reappointed to serve any longer as commissioner.
Graham said Denham was “an inspired choice” of successor.
“As commissioner for both privacy and access to information in a similar jurisdiction, Elizabeth has shown independence of judgement and toughness of character,” he said.
“She will be a great leader for the ICO as it adapts to the demands of the new data protection framework – and she’ll be an effective upholder of information rights both in the UK and internationally.”
Whittingdale said Denham would “bring a wealth of knowledge and experience” to the post.
Prior to taking up her role in British Columbia, Denham was assistant privacy commissioner of Canada, based in Ottawa. Before that she was a director at the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta from 2003 to 2007.