Data Protection and Digital Information Bill

Authored by Tracy Pez, Data Protection Consultant, Data Protection People.

UK Data Reform Bill – Insights and Predictions

The UK government first proposed the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill to reform the country’s data protection laws in July 2022.  This was then put on hold in September 2022.  The second reading has now been released (8th March 2023).

The new Data Reform Bill aims to introduce a “simple, clear and business-friendly framework” that is GDPR-inspired, but with more flexibility to comply with new data laws. It emphasises maintaining data adequacy with the EU, which has been in question since the UK announced its intention to reform its data protection laws.

The Bill‘s highlights include the introduction of a non-exhaustive list of activities that can be considered legitimate interests, such as direct marketing and ensuring network and information systems’ security.  Also, controversially, Records of processing will only be required for high-risk activities. The Data Reform Bill also increases fines for nuisance calls and texts to either 4% of global turnover or £17.5 million, whichever is greater. Additionally, the Bill outlines a framework for digital verification services and provides assurance that transfer mechanisms lawfully entered into before the Bill takes effect will continue to be valid under the new regime.

The Data Reform Bill aims to strike a balance between making data protection more business-friendly and maintaining data adequacy with the EU. The introduction of a list of legitimate interests is considered a positive step towards this goal. The Data Reform Bill also aims to reduce the administrative burden and costs associated with data protection compliance for businesses. However, it remains crucial for businesses to comply with data protection laws and respect the rights and freedoms of data subjects.

The increased fines for nuisance calls and texts are a move towards creating a safer and more secure online environment. The inclusion of a framework for digital verification services is an interesting development which potentially means additional privacy and security concerns that will need to be addressed before organisations can provide such functions.

The Data Reform Bill’s impact on businesses, data subjects, and the wider economy is still uncertain, and it is predicted to face opposition and scrutiny during the parliamentary process. However, it is hoped it will be a positive step towards creating a business-friendly data protection framework while continuing to prioritise data subject rights and freedoms. The Bill’s evolution through the parliamentary process will be interesting to watch and see how it will impact the UK’s data protection regime.

On the 10th of March 2023, we were thrilled to host another episode of our weekly podcast series, ‘Data Protection Made Easy’ where our host Jasmine Harrison and special guests Vicki Lawson and Tracy Pez focussed on the recent announcement of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, sharing their views and opinions with our live audience. Our team of data protection experts aims to assist our audience in overcoming common data protection challenges and to make data protection easy. Our previous episodes have covered topics such as simplifying the SAR handling process, providing tips on how to engage and inspire your workforce with regard to data protection, and even hosted free workshops where we have provided practical tools for our live listeners to take away. Our data protection community has grown significantly in the last two years, with over 1,100 members from various backgrounds, from students seeking to gain experience to experienced DPOs looking to keep up to date with the latest news from the world of data protection. Our community is a space for like-minded individuals to support and learn from one another.

Our sessions are held every Friday from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM via Microsoft Teams, and the discussions are recorded and published as a podcast on major audio-streaming platforms. You can listen to over 100 past episodes on Spotify here: Listen to the Data Protection Made Easy podcast.

If you’re interested in future episodes of the “Data Protection Made Easy” podcast, visit our website: Upcoming Events. Join our community today to stay up-to-date on the latest data protection trends and learn from our experts.