Industry backs new UK data laws but calls for dialogue

parliament-once-more-2The Government has revealed plans to replace the Data Protection Act – outlined in the Queen’s Speech – and bring in new laws, which are likely to replace the looming EU General Data Protection Regulation following Brexit.
Quite where the new laws will sit with the Digital Economy Bill – passed just before the election – is not known but most observers see the move as a way of strengthening the hand of the Information Commissioner’s Office, while also ensuring the UK maintains a tough data protection regime.
The proposed Data Protection Bill reflects plans described in the Conservative Party manifesto ahead of the general election in June, and includes many elements of GDPR such as the “right to be forgotten” and “empowering individuals to have more control over their personal data”.
The Government also said it would implement GDPR but the new UK bill would ensure the country met its obligations while a member of the EU, and would help the UK maintain its “ability to share data with other EU members states and internationally after we leave the EU”.
Under the Repeal Bill – also included in the Queen’s Speech – the Government will copy over all EU laws into UK law, but Parliament will then decide which legislation to ditch.
A spokesman for the technology industry trade body techUK said: “We support the Government’s commitment to maintain the UK’s world-class protection of people’s personal data. This will include implementing GDPR, the biggest transformation of data protection rules in a generation.”
Some have even suggested that the UK plans will go even further than the legislation put in place by GDPR.
“While GDPR will be folded into UK law post-Brexit, the proposed bill adds additional safeguards, including overhauling the powers of law enforcement and the powers of the Information Commissioner,” said Iain Chidgey, vice-president and general manager international at data firm Delphix.
Meanwhile Dene Walsh, operations and compliance director, Verso Group is urging the direct marketing industry to get involved from the start.
He said: “The Government previously announced that the results of the ICO’s DM guidlines review would become statutory law, and it appears that it plans to make good on its commitment. As an industry we must have a constructive dialogue with the regulator and ministers to ensure that what becomes law protects the public and allows responsible companies and other organisations to have the necessary freedom to operate.
“We should not be timid in pointing out that as a sector we employ hundreds of thousands of individuals, and save consumers vast amounts of money through information and offers. What we have to do is put forward properly constructed regulatory ideas, not pick out elements we want saved or introduced. What comes out of all of this will be with us for a decade or more.”

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