Digital Economy Act passed: DP implications for data sharing and direct marketing

The Digital Economy Bill received Royal Assent and passed into law last Thursday 27 April. The Act, which has data protection implications for data sharing and direct marketing, was rushed through Parliament due to the forthcoming general election.

The Act provides protections for citizens from spam email and nuisance calls, the government says. The Information Commissioner will receive stronger enforcement powers over direct marketing laws, and will introduce a statutory code of practice on direct marketing. It is hoped that this code, to strengthen the UK DP Act, will now take into account the new provisions on consent and marketing of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

In addition, the Act allows for wide sharing of personal data across the public sector, for example to combat fraud. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will issue a code of practice on data sharing but has not yet made the draft available.