‘Planned Reforms’ (30 pages) for a U.K. data protection bill from the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is now published
A generation ago Parliament passed the Data Protection Act.
Since then, digital technology has transformed almost every aspect of our lives. This has brought huge advantages: social advantage, bringing the world closer together, and economic advantage, transforming our economy. For all its many benefits, there are also concerns. Parents worry that their children may be vulnerable online in ways they don’t understand. Customers worry what companies are doing with their data. Citizens worry that others might intrude on their privacy online.
To protect people’s privacy, while allowing and encouraging the innovation that digital technology allows, we must balance freedom and responsibility online. The Data Protection Act has done this well, providing us with more control over how our personal information is used and limiting processing to the purpose for which it was collected, subject to various public interest exemptions. We have stronger protections in the UK than most, and our regulatory arrangements are often seen as the gold standard. While we should all be assured that data is well protected in the UK, change is needed. The technology, and society has changed.
The Data Protection Bill, promised in our manifesto and announced in the Queen’s speech, will bring our data protection laws up to date. It will both support innovation by ensuring that scientists and businesses can continue to process data safely. It will ensure that we can remain assured that our data is safe as we move into a future digital world based on a system with more accountability, but less bureaucracy. The Bill includes tougher rules on consent, rights to access, rights to move and rights to delete data. Enforcement will be enhanced, and the Information
Commissioner given the right powers to ensure consumers are appropriately safeguarded.
The Bill will also bring EU law into our domestic law. On 23 June 2016, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU.
Bringing EU law into our domestic law will ensure that we help to prepare the UK for the future after we have left the EU. The EU General Data Protection Regulation
(GDPR) and the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive (DPLED) have been developed to allow people to be sure they are in control of their personal information
while continuing to allow businesses to develop innovative digital services without the chilling effect of over-regulation. Implementation will be done in a way that as far as
possible preserves the concepts of the Data Protection Act to ensure that the transition for all is as smooth as possible, while complying with the GDPR and
DPLED in full.
When it comes to law enforcement, the Bill will ensure that the data of victims, witnesses and suspects of crimes, are protected in the context of criminal
investigations and law enforcement action. It will ensure that criminal justice agencies can continue to tackle crime and terrorism whilst protecting the data rights
of those involved in criminal investigations or proceedings. Criminals and terrorists show no respect for international borders so the Bill will ensure that UK criminal
justice agencies work effectively with counterparts in other countries.
The Data Protection Bill will allow the UK to continue to set the gold standard on data protection. We already have the largest internet economy in the G20. This Bill will
help maintain that position by giving consumers confidence that Britain’s data rules are fit for the digital age in which we live.