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Government committed to updating and strengthening existing data protection laws

View profile for Christopher Buck
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In a statement of intent the Government has committed to updating and strengthening existing data protection laws via the introduction of a new Data Protection Bill. The Bill will implement the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and will replace the Data Protection Act 1998.

A padlock symbolUnder the plans individuals will have more control over their data by having the right to be forgotten and to ask for their personal data to be erased. This will also mean that people can request social media channels to delete information they posted in their childhood. The Bill will introduce the requirement for explicit consent to be necessary for processing sensitive personal data, it will make it simpler for individuals to withdraw consent previously given for the use of personal data, the definition of “personal data” will be expanded to now include information such as IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA, it will enable parents and guardians to give consent for their child’s data to be used and it will be easier and free for individuals to require an organisation to disclose the personal data which it retains for them.

Data protection rules will be made clearer and businesses will be supported to ensure they are able to manage and secure data properly however those who handle data will be made more accountable for the data which they process with the priority being focused on personal privacy rights. Those organisations carrying out high-risk data processing will be obliged to carry out impact assessments to understand the risks involved and the data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), will be given more power to defend consumer interests and to issue higher fines for breaches of the regulations, up to £17million or equivalent to 4% of the global turnover of the company in breach in the most serious cases.

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New criminal offences will also be created to deter organisations from either intentionally or recklessly engaging in or creating situations where an individual could potentially be identified from anonymised data.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital said of the proposed new bill:

“It will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world. The Bill will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit. We have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive.”

If you should have any queries in respect of Data Protection or your rights and responsibilities in respect of the same, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01908 660966 or alternatively at