The Data Protection Bill – passed by Parliament last week and now awaiting Royal Assent – is already out of date and does nothing to tackle the issues of companies exploiting personal data, the use and regulation of algorithms, and the global co-operation needed to ensure a high standard of compliance in the face of global technology companies.
That is according to senior Labour MP Darren Jones, a member of the EU Scrutiny and Science & Technology Select Committees and a former member of the Public Bill Committee for the Data Protection Bill who believes the new legislation entirely fails at regulating the digital world.
In a blog post he wrote: “The Government missed the opportunity to discuss the big issues. Instead, the it sought only to extend broad powers for the state, to remove fundamental legal principals that guarantee our rights to privacy, and to react – at the last minute and with little debate – to the obvious need for stronger enforcement powers for the Information Commissioner.”
He added that in the face of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the tragedy of failed algorithms in the NHS and the lack of UK authority in the world when Parliament is ignored by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, “those of us who watch these issues closely throw our hands in the air”.
Jones said that in the past few weeks he had “all but given up in trying to improve this Bill” after “perfectly credible and sensible arguments for improvements… were rejected without any proper engagement in the debate, with Conservative MPs who just read what their civil servants handed them and just voted how their whips told them”.
“We had the opportunity to set our standards high, and to lead a cutting edge legislative debate in the world. Instead, we’ve ended up with a rushed, inadequate Bill which serves certain time pressures but fails entirely at properly understanding and regulating the digital world within which an increasing amount of our daily lives are lived.”
Jones concluded: “It’s vital that politicians – not just in Britain, but around the world – don’t consider the issue of internet and data privacy regulation to now be ‘done’. But we must recognise, instead, that our new laws are already old and that the debate must not only go on, but get significantly better too.”
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