UK Information Commissioner
Richard Thomas took up appointment as the Information Commissioner on 30
He has independent status, reporting directly to Parliament, with
responsibility for enforcing the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Data
Protection Act 1998.
His previous career has included:
Director of Public Policy at Clifford Chance (the international law firm);
Director of Consumer Affairs at the Office of Fair Trading;
Head of Public Affairs and Legal Officer at the National Consumer Council;
Solicitor with the Citizens Advice Bureau Service.
He has also previously held various public appointments, including membership of
the Lord Chancellor’s Civil Justice Review Advisory Committee and the Board of
the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Helena Kennedy's practices law as a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in
London and has been involved a large number of prominent cases.
She was the British member of the recent International Bar Association Task
Force on Terrorism and is currently chairing an inquiry for the Royal College
of Pathologists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health into
sudden infant death, in the aftermath of miscarriages of justice where mothers
were wrongly convicted of murdering their babies.
As a life peer, she also participates in the House of Lords on issues concerned
with human rights, civil liberties, social justice and culture.
From 1992 to 1997, she was chair of Charter 88, the constitutional reform group,
which persuaded the new Labour government to make devolution and human rights
legislation central planks of their manifesto. She is also on the board of the
From 1994 to 2002, she was chair of the London International Festival of Theatre
(LIFT), one of the most innovative and cutting-edge arts promoters and
producers in the United Kingdom. She has also, since 1998, been chair of the
British Council, the most successful cultural organisation in the world, which
she has led through a period of dynamic change.
She is also currently chair of the Human Genetics Commission, which advises the
UK government on the ethical, social and legal issues arising from developments
in genetic science.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland
Department for Constitutional Affairs
Cathy Ashton was born in Upholland in Lancashire, from where she takes her
title “Baroness Ashton of Upholland”.
She studied Economics at London University, working later in the voluntary,
public and private sectors. From 1983 to 1989 she was Director of Business in
the Community working with business to tackle inequality, with them she
established the Employers Forum on Disability, Opportunity Now - to remove the
glass ceiling for women at work, and the Windsor Fellowship – to support
minority ethnic undergraduates into work.
Cathy chaired the Health Authority in Hertfordshire from 1998 to 2001, and her
children’s school governing body and became a Vice President of the National
Council for One Parent Families, before becoming a Minister in 2001.
In 1999 she was given a life peerage, became an Education Minister in 2001 and
joined DCA in 2004. In 2005 she was voted House Magazine Minister of the Year
and Channel 4 Peer of the Year. She became a Privy Councillor in May 2006.
Dr David Murakami Wood
Surveillance Studies Network
David Murakami Wood is a Lecturer in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape and a researcher in the Global Urban Research Unit at Newcastle University. He is also the Managing Editor of 'Surveillance & Society', and one of the founders of the new Surveillance Studies Network. He is an urban geographer interested in three particular areas: studies of surveillance technologies in urban and transnational space; the interface between military technologies and civil society; and pervasive, or ubiquitous, computing - the embedding of computer systems in almost all objects and increasingly, people. He is currently working on three major projects, the first for the Economic and Social Research Council New Security Challenges Programme on The Everyday Resilience of the City; the second funded by various bodies including the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and The Japan Foundation on Surveillance in Japan; and finally work funded by the US National Science Foundation on Implantation and Surveillance. His recent and forthcoming publications include articles in 'International Relations, Society and Space and Urban Studies', several chapters in edited collections, and he is currently working on a book, 'New Geographies of Surveillance'.
Professor Nigel Gilbert
University of Surry, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering
Professor Nigel Gilbert read for a first degree in Engineering,
intending to go into the computer industry. However, he transferred into
sociology and obtained his doctorate on the sociology of scientific knowledge
from the University of Cambridge. His research and teaching interests have
reflected his continuing interest in both sociology and computer science (and
engineering more widely).
His main research interests are process theories of social phenomena, the
development of computational sociology and the methodology of computer
simulation, especially agent-based modelling. He is Director of the Centre for
Research on Social Simulation and Director of the University's Institute of
Advanced Studies, responsible for its development as a leading centre for
He is the author or editor of several textbooks on sociological methods of
research and statistics and editor of the 'Journal of Artificial Societies and
Social Simulation'. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and is
on the Council of the Academy of Social Sciences.
Director of Liberty
Shami Chakrabarti has been Director of Liberty since September 2003.
She joined Liberty as in-house Counsel on 10 September 2001 and became heavily
involved in its engagement with the 'War on Terror' and with the defence and
promotion of human rights values in Parliament, the Courts and wider society.
She is a barrister and was called to the Bar (Middle Temple) in 1994 and worked
as a lawyer in the Home Office from 1996 until the summer of 2001. During that
time she worked on policy, legislation and litigation in the counter-terror,
asylum and criminal justice areas, and on the implementation of the Human
Rights Act within Government.
Since becoming Liberty’s Director she has written, spoken and broadcast widely
on the importance of the post-WW2 human rights framework as an essential
component of democratic society.
She is a Governor of the London School of Economics and sits on the Advisory
Board of the British Institute of Human Rights and the Executive Committee of
the Administrative Law Bar Association.
Director General of the Federal Office for the Records of the National Security
Services of the former DDR
Hans Altendorf was born in 1949 in Oldenburg and studied Law, Education Science, Political Science, German language and literature studies in Hamburg. He entered the Higher Public Service in Hamburg in 1980 and held various positions in the public administration of Hamburg, including special responsibilities for legal affairs, and the head of department of Youth and Family assistance. In 1993 he became the Senate Director and chief officer of the public administration office of the municipal authority for schools, youth issues and vocational training. In 2001, he became the Director of the Federal Commissioner for the records of the State Security Service of the former DDR (BStU). The BStU is a federal agency with 2,100 employees in Berlin and 13 regional offices.
Dr Benjamin Goold
Lecturer in law and criminology
Benjamin Goold is a Fellow and tutor in law at Somerville College,
University of Oxford. He holds undergraduate degrees in law and economics from
the University of Tasmania, and a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) and a Doctorate
in Philosophy (DPhil) from the University of Oxford. His major research
interests are in the use of surveillance technology by the police, and the
relationship between individual privacy rights and the criminal law. He also
writes on aspects of the Japanese criminal justice system, and is a member of
the Faculty of Oriental Studies and an Associate Member of the Nissan Institute
of Japanese Studies.
Prior to taking up his current position at Somerville, he taught criminology at
John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and comparative criminal law
at the University of Niigata, Japan.
Sir Stephen Lander
Chair of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
Sir Stephen Lander worked for the Security Service (MI5) for 27 years, for the
last six (1996-2002) as its statutory Director General. He was subsequently the
first Independent Commissioner to the Law Society and a non-executive director
of HMCE. He was appointed Chair of the UK’s new Serious Organised Crime Agency
in 2004. In addition, he has a number of private sector non-executive roles and
sits on the Regulation Board for Solicitors. He was appointed CB in 1995 and
KCB in 2000.
Head of Prime Minister's Delivery Unit
Ian Watmore is a Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office running the
Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. In this role he is helping to deliver the PM’s
top public service priorities and act as his key advisor on delivery. He is
leading the Cabinet Secretary’s capability review programme of Whitehall
Departments. He also retains overall management responsibility for the
Government’s IT agenda and CIO Council. Before joining the Civil Service in
September 2004, he was UK Managing Director of Accenture. In a personal
capacity he is on the Board of the English Institute for Sport, focused on
serving high performance athletes in preparation for Olympic and other major
Judge András Baka
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
András Baka has been a judge at the European Court of Human Rights since1991and
Section Vice-President of the Court since 2000. He was a senior researcher of
the Institute of Legal Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences 1978-1990.
He has a PhD in Legal Sciences and has been a Professor of Constitutional and
Administrative Law at the National School of Public Administration, Budapest
since 1989. He was the rector and President of the Board of the National School
of Public Administration from 1990-1998.
CEO of Experian
In 1980, he co-founded a business called CCN, as part of the Great
Universal Stores group, to provide information services to retailers and other
By the mid-nineties, CCN had become one of Europe’s largest information services
companies, with revenues of over £100 million and employing over 3,000 people,
mainly in the UK. Over the next few years, he went on to lead the acquisition
by GUS of a number of large US and European information services businesses.
These were then combined with CCN to form a global information services
organisation called Experian, with John Peace as its worldwide chief executive.
In 1997, he was appointed to the Board of GUS plc, becoming Group Chief
Executive of GUS in January 2000 and since then has spearheaded a major
restructuring strategy to refocus the Group. This has seen GUS transformed from
what many saw as a sprawling, old-fashioned catalogue mail-order company into a
highly successful international retail and business services company, including
the acquisition and disposal of over 70 businesses worldwide. In the past five
years, GUS shareholder value has more than trebled, while the FTSE 100 as a
whole lost value.
In June 2002, John Peace was appointed Chairman of Burberry Group plc, in
advance of its partial flotation by GUS in July 2002, and later this year, will
take on the role of Chairman of Experian, following the planned demerger of its
two main businesses in October 2006.
He is also the Chairman of Board of Governors, Nottingham Trent University, a
trustee of the Djanogly City Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a
Companion of the Chartered Management Institute, and a Deputy Lieutenant for
the County of Nottinghamshire.
David H Flaherty
Privacy Consultant, Victoria, Canada
David Flaherty is a specialist in the management of privacy and
information policy issues. He served a six-year term as the first Information
and Privacy Commissioner for the Province of British Columbia (1993-99). His
achievements in office included an enviable record for successful mediation of
access to information disputes, 320 Orders under the Freedom of Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, and the development of site visits to public bodies
(hospitals in particular) as a form of privacy auditing.
He began his involvement with privacy issues as an assistant to Alan F. Westin
at Columbia University in 1964 and published his first book ('Privacy in
Colonial New England') in 1972. In 1974 he started comparative public policy
work in Europe and North America that led to a series of books (including
'Protecting Privacy in Surveillance Societies: The Federal Republic of Germany,
Sweden, France, Canada, and the United States' (1989)).
He has an MA and PhD. from Columbia University and taught from 1965 to 1993 at
Princeton University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Western
Ontario, where he was professor of history and law from 1972 to 1999 and is now
professor emeritus. He was the first director (1984-89) of its Centre for
American Studies and has held fellowships and scholarships at Harvard, Oxford,
Stanford, and Georgetown Universities. In 1992-93 he was a Fellow of the
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC and a
Canada-US Fulbright Scholar in Law. He has been an adjunct professor in
political science at the University of Victoria since 1999.
As a consultant, he has advised on the management of privacy issues and of
relationships with privacy authorities, privacy advocates, and the general
public; conducted overall assessments of privacy compliance (privacy reviews,
audits, site visits, knowledge transfer); prepared Privacy Impact Assessments;
and developed privacy codes to comply with the Personal Information Protection
and Electronic Documents Act (and its provincial equivalents).
He was a Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Industry Canada in 1999 in
support of Bill C-6, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic
Documents Act. He has co-authored 'Personal Information Protection and
Electronic Documents Act: An Annotated Guide' (Irwin Law, Toronto, January,
2001). He also co-authored the 'Guidelines for Managing Privacy, Data
Protection and Security for Ontario Hospitals' (a report prepared by the
Ontario Hospital eHealth Council’s Privacy and Security Working Group – July
Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Jennifer Stoddart was appointed Canada's Privacy Commissioner by the
Governor in Council, effective December 1, 2003, on unanimous resolutions
adopted by both the House of Commons and the Senate, for a seven-year term. She
has led the Office's institutional renewal, and has also reoriented it toward
its multi-disciplinary approach to preventing privacy breaches in the public
and private sectors, and to protecting and promoting the privacy rights of
She was previously President of the 'Commission d'accès à l'information du
Québec', an organisation responsible for both access to information and the
protection of personal information. She has held several senior positions in
public administration for the Governments of Québec and Canada, including at
the Canadian and the Quebec Human Rights Commissions. She has been active in
the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of
Justice, and has also lectured on history and legal sciences at the Université
du Québec à Montréal and McGill University.
Sara is a freelance broadcaster who works with the BBC on a variety of business
programmes including BBC’s World’s World Business Report. She is an experienced
conference facilitator and has worked with many British and international
companies across a range of different sectors, chairing their in-house meetings
and bringing an independent voice to their debates. Her work often includes
chairing question and answer sessions and challenging the management team on
the issues that matter to the audience. Recently, she has worked with groups
from the financial sector, including Prudential, HBOS, KPMG and Ernst &
Young. In the consumer products sector, she spent six weeks conducting
workshops with the Swiss giant, Nestle, and has also worked extensively with
the tobacco group, Gallaher. In engineering she worked with IMI and in the
technology sector, Hewlett Packard and the software company, Amdocs.