Data Reform Bill announced in Queen’s Speech – PL&B organises feedback session

The government announced the Data Reform Bill in the Queen’s Speech yesterday, but the text of the Bill is not yet available. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) says that it will set out further details of the proposed measures shortly.

The government’s briefing notes confirm that the Bill will ‘take advantage of the benefits of Brexit to create a world class data rights regime that will allow us to create a new pro-growth and trusted UK data protection framework that reduces burdens on businesses.’

The aim is also to modernise the Information Commissioner’s Office, and create legislation that is focused on privacy outcomes rather than box-ticking.

Paul Maynard, associate at Covington, said:

“Precisely which obligations will change as a result of the new Act remain largely unclear, and it remains to be seen whether the EU institutions will continue to find the UK regime to provide an adequate level of protection, either in 2025 when the adequacy finding is renewed, or earlier. There will be some uncertainty for businesses not only until the full text of the Bill is released, but also afterwards when we see the reaction from the EU.”

The government also announced a Bill of Rights which will replace the Human Rights Act – a development that may have implications for the UK’s EU data adequacy, as the EU has stressed the importance of the UK adhering to its international obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Recently, in its response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on the Human Rights Act reform, the ICO declared that in order to maintain EU adequacy decisions, the government should ensure its proposals continue to effectively implement the ECHR in British law.

PL&B has organised an in-person Roundtable on the proposed reform to UK data protection legislation on 25 May 2022 in London, in cooperation with Norton Rose Fulbright.