Government plans to replicate GDPR in UK law after Brexit

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  • The UK government has confirmed it plans to implement a new Data Protection Bill modelled on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), in order to give consumers more control over their own personal data.

    With research revealing that more than 80 per cent of people in the UK feel they do not have enough control over their online data, the new bill is intended to offer consumers greater say about how their information is collected, stored and shared, helping to instil them with the confidence that their data will be managed in the right way.

    Matt Hancock, the UK’s Minister of State for Digital and Culture, explained: “Our measures are designed to support businesses in their use of data, and give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account.

    “The new Data Protection Bill 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.”

    Under the new plans individuals will have the ‘right to be forgotten’ online, including the right to ask social media platforms to delete any and all personal data, including posts, messages, images, videos, IP addresses and tracking cookies. 

    Businesses will also be required to ask consumers to opt-in to sharing their data, rather than assuming they consent unless they specifically opt-out.

    Julian David, CEO of techUK, the trade body for the UK’s tech sector, stressed that the new bill will be a good thing for technology firms because it will increase trust and strengthen consumer confidence. He explained: “The UK has always been a world leader in data protection and data-driven innovation. Key to realising the full opportunities of data is building a culture of trust and confidence.

    “This statement of intent is an important and welcome first step in that process. techUK supports the aim of a Data Protection Bill that implements GDPR in full, puts the UK in a strong position to secure unhindered data flows once it has left the EU, and gives businesses the clarity they need about their new obligations.” 

    The new bill will expand the definition of personal data to include a user’s IP addresses, their browser cookies, and their DNA. It will also create a number of new criminal offences for businesses that fail to comply with data protection law, with fines of up to £17 million or 4 per cent of a business’s global turnover.

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