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The Current State of the UK’s Data Protection Bill

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The Current State of the UK’s Data Protection Bill

Since the Data Protection Act passed in 1998, innovations within digital technology have impacted and transformed the routine of everyday lives...

Since the Data Protection Act passed in 1998, innovations within digital technology have impacted and transformed the routine of everyday lives. Recent advancements have been outlined by the government for the Data Protection Bill which will integrate the GDPR into UK law, May 2018 together with the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive (DPLED) conveying “a more 21st century approach” to how personal data is processed.

Introduced to the House of Lords on 13 September 2017, the Data Protection Bill will modernise data protection laws in preparation for the continuation of the digital age. The advanced Data Protection Bill aims to ensure that data protection laws are fit for the digital age due to the vast amounts of ever increasing data being processed. The Bill will entitle users to take control of their personal data, support UK businesses and guarantee that the UK is fully prepared for the future post-Brexit.

Effective, modern data protection laws with robust safeguards are central to securing the public’s trust and “we are pleased the government recognises the importance of data protection, its central role in increasing trust and confidence in the digital economy and the benefits the enhanced protections will bring to the public,” states Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioning Officer.

Reforms in the Bill include a “right to be forgotten” allowing individuals to ask companies or social media sites for their personal data to be erased from the sites giving them more control over how their information is deleted. This specific measure derives from the European GDPR, however the UK will alter this slightly by asking social media companies to remove an individual’s posts from before they were under the age of 18.

The term personal data will be updated to reflect new types of data including IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA. The update follows concerns that the fluidity of internet browsing is increasingly being used to target internet users. Momentarily, websites put pressure on users to opt out of being added to email and phone call lists by ticking a box at the end of online forms. The Bill will alter this by making consent clear. Users will have to opt in to being put on ‘cold-calling’ lists so they are conscious that their personal information will be used by marketing companies.

The Data Protection Bill will support UK businesses ensuring they are able to manage, access and secure their personal data. Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioning Officer will have the ability to issue out fines of up to £17m or 4% of a company’s global turnover if the rules are breached. Two new criminal offences, the alteration of personal data to prevent disclosure and the re-identification of de-identified personal data have been included in the update process of the Data Protection Bill.  The “measures are designed to support businesses in their use of data, and give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account,” states Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital.

Interested in what the next steps for UK data protection are post-Brexit? Come and visit the Public Sector Data & GDPR Summit on 13th March 2018 at the Victoria Park Plaza in London.