As part of several of measures aimed at “making our country safer and more united,” a new Data Protection Bill has been announced in the Queen’s Speech.
The Bill, which follows up proposals in the Conservative manifesto ahead of the election in June, is designed to make the UK’s data protection framework “suitable for our new digital age, allowing citizens to better control their data.”
The intentions behind the Bill are to:
- Give people more rights over the use and storage of their personal information. Social media platforms will be required to delete data gathered about people prior to them turning 18. The ‘right to be forgotten’ is enshrined in the Bill’s requirement of organisations to delete an individual’s data on request or when there are “no longer legitimate grounds for retaining it.”
- Implement the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, and the new Directive which applies to law enforcement data processing. This meets the UK’s obligations to international law enforcement during its time as an EU member state and provides the UK with a system to share data internationally after Brexit is finalised.
- To update the powers and sanctions available to the Information Commissioner.
- Strengthen the UK’s competitive position in technological innovation and digital markets by providing a safe framework for data sharing and a robust personal data protection regime.
- Ensure that police and judicial authorities can continue to exchange information “with international partners in the fight against terrorism and other serious crimes.”
Ultimately, the Bill seeks to modernise the UK’s data protection regime and to secure British citizens’ ability to control the processing and application of their personal information. The Queen’s Speech expressed the Government’s concern not only over law enforcement, but also the digital economy: over 70% of all trade in services are enabled by data flows, making data protection critical to international trade, and in 2015, the digital sector contributed £118 billion to the economy and employed over 1.4 million people across the UK.
Written by Harry Smithson, 22nd June 2017