Government reaffirms its commitment to ensure unhindered data flows

The government has today launched its Digital Strategy, which aims to ‘make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business, or trial a technology.’

The strategy has seven pillars, including ‘data economy; unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use’. The data protection part of the strategy confirms that the UK will implement the EU Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by May 2018, and that the government is working on finding a way to ensure that transborder data flows remain uninterrupted at the time when the UK leaves the European Union.

‘As part of our plans for the UK’s exit from the EU, we will be seeking to ensure that data flows remain uninterrupted, and will be considering all the available options that will provide legal certainty for businesses and individuals alike,’ the paper says.

The government is planning to review data protection offences, and introduce stronger sanctions for deliberate and negligent re-identification of anonymised data. ‘It is essential that the regulator has effective powers and that sanctions are a deterrent to the misuse of data,’ the government says. The government is particularly concerned about the use of de-anonymised data that would risk individuals’ confidentiality. The impact of this is particularly acute in a health and care context, the paper states.

‘The plans and proposals outlined in this strategy, and those we will develop together over the coming years, will deliver a thriving, inclusive, outward-looking digital economy in the UK, with the benefits and opportunities spread across every region, and every community. By putting each of the elements of this strategy in place, we will cement our position as a world-leading digital economy and ensure it works for everyone.’