The UK’s new Data Protection focus?

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The Law Gazette 1 has suggested that the UK Government has made it’s first statement that there will be a move away from the GDPR following the appointment of a new Information Commissioner later this year. 

Whilst it is difficult to see how realistic that is from the article, the comments made by the culture secretary Oliver Dowden could be seen both as supportive and detractive. He expects the new Commissioner to ‘focus not just on privacy but on the use of data for ‘economic and social goals’.

This can be done within the existing regulation, the problem to date has been as Dowden rightly points out:  

‘Too many businesses and organisations are reluctant to use data – either because they don’t understand the rules or are afraid of inadvertently breaking them.’ 

We believe that the current regulation gives organisations enough scope to use data for mutual benefit for both organisations and society as a whole. The big issue noted by the culture secretary is the lack of understanding of how to interpret and implement the rules that is hindering business.   

We hope that the remit of the incoming Commissioner is not to diminish the rules around organisations’ use of data but to provide more timely and practical guidance on how to gain value from data held whilst maintaining its protection.  

From the limited information available, it is unclear whether the UK will move away from a regime that currently gives us adequacy across Europe. We also need to be mindful that it is not just Europe that maintains data protection regulations and that there are international treaties that require such protections. We will be watching this closely to see which way it heads.

1 https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/uk-to-depart-from-gdpr/5107685.article 

Karen Watson

Karen Watson

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