EU GDPR data security concept

Government to reform GDPR data protection laws

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The UK's new data regime is expected to remove the “unnecessary bureaucracy” of data protection laws inherited from the EU.

The Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, is expected to present the government's new Data Protection and Digital Information Bill to MPs for scrutiny in the House of Commons for the first time, a piece of legislation she has described as “one of Brexit’s biggest rewards”. 

Among other changes, the proposals would see the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws reformed, with the new data regime set to deliver about £1bn in businesses savings, according to Dorries.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the reforms will remove the “prescriptive requirements” of data laws inherited from the EU and give organisations greater flexibility to protect personal data in “more proportionate ways” rather than each following the same processes regardless of their size.

“We can’t afford to stick with the status quo, to keep prioritising process over results, and allowing unnecessary bureaucracy to stifle growth and innovation," Dorries is expected to say. “If we were still in the EU, we’d have to keep following the current approach. Thanks to Brexit, we don’t."

The UK's new data bill is expected to increase fines for nuisance calls and texts, allow for a digital births and deaths registry in England and Wales, and facilitate the flow and use of personal data for law enforcement and national security purposes, among other changes.

The proposals would also change the structure and objectives of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), including appointing a chair, chief executive and board, the government said. Currently, the ICO is an independent body, which describes itself as being “set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals”.

“With this Bill, we will build a new, independent data regime," Dorries will say "One that with a number of common-sense changes, frees up our businesses and unlocks scientific and economic growth, while maintaining our high data protection standards."

“This data Bill is one of Brexit’s biggest rewards. It allows us to create a pro-growth, trusted system – one that is designed not for Brussels, but for the people of the UK.”

DCMS also said the changes included in the bill would improve the UK’s ability to strike international data deals and make them more secure, which it said would allow British businesses to benefit from billions of pounds in trade.

The Data Reform Bill was first announced during the Queen’s Speech at the Opening of Parliament last May, in which Prince Charles stood in for Queen Elizabeth, who decided not to attend for health reasons.

At the time, industry representatives expressed concerns that, if done improperly, the Bill could ultimately cost the economy more than it will deliver. If the UK were to depart from the EU standards too greatly, it could lose its “data adequacy status” meaning businesses will face higher compliance costs when receiving data from the bloc.

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