The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched the Beta phase of its Sandbox initiative which is meant to facilitate business innovation in a safe regulatory space. The prerequisite is that the service or product that is put into the sandbox will deliver demonstrable public benefit. 

The sandbox is open to all sectors and all sizes of organizations. The current phase will involve around 10 organizations of different types and sizes ideally from across private, public and third sectors. The ICO welcomes applications by 24 May for products or services that address specific data protection challenges central to innovation.

The program will run from July 2019 to September 2020, but individual organizations may exit well before September 2020. Simon McDougall, Executive Director for Technology and Innovation at the ICO, said:
“Our Sandbox will provide the environment that organizations need to test new concepts and technologies. The lessons we learn together may identify more fundamental questions with broader implications for data protection, and could ultimately inform the development of new guidance or codes of conduct in particular sectors to pave the way for further innovation.”

The ICO has issued a discussion paper on the Sandbox initiative, see