UK to overhaul data protection laws

07 August 2017

UK citizens may be able to exercise greater control over what happens to personal information under proposals outlined by the government.

Citizens will be able to ask for deletion of personal data, and information posted when they were children.

The proposals form part of an overhaul of UK data protection laws drafted under digital minister, Matt Hancock.

Firms found on the wrong side of the law will be liable for bigger fines imposed by the UK's data protection watchdog.

The bill will see the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) integrated into UK law.

"The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world," said Hancock in a statement.

"It will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit," he added.

The bill will include the following proposals:

  • Withdrawing consent for the use of personal data to become simpler
  • Allow people to call for deletion of data
  • Explicit consent will be required when firms when they process sensitive personal data
  • Data expansion to allow for inclusion of IP addresses, DNA and small text files known as cookies
  • Allow people get hold of the information organisations hold on them much more freely

The legislation will help the UK prepare for Brexit because it will mean the systems were aligned when the UK left the bloc.

Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson said, "As we are leaving the EU it is more important than ever that we have a robust data protection framework fit for the future, reported.

"We'll be scrutinising the bill carefully to make sure it creates that future proof framework."

Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, said, "We are pleased the government recognises the importance of data protection, its central role in increasing trust and confidence in the digital economy and the benefits the enhanced protections will bring to the public," the BBC reported.

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