Data Bill now here for scrutiny

Just as we were going to print, the government announced that it was introducing the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill in Parliament. While debate in Parliament has to wait until September, we can now study the different aspects of this Bill. The government’s thinking has already changed quite a bit from its original position (p.1 and p.15). It remains to be seen how the appointment of a new Data Minister, Matt Warman MP, and indeed a new Prime Minister, will affect the progress of this Bill.

The DCMS has suggested that, by removing some of the compliance requirements around accountability, the government claims that business and the public sector will benefit from up to £1 billion in costs savings. For organisations, the Bill means more change – on the face of it relatively few will greatly benefit from the proposed reliefs. As very few large organisations process only UK data, companies will still have to ensure that they also comply with the EU GDPR. Smaller firms could benefit – but many are not complying currently and have not made investments into data protection. So change may be minimal for this sector.

The new AI policy paper (p.20), to be followed later on by a White Paper, seeks to give different regulators the opportunity to take a tailored approach to the use of AI.

At Winds of Change, PL&B’s 35th Annual Conference, 4-6 July, the ICO’s Executive Director of Regulatory Futures and Innovation, Stephen Bonner, spoke about how the ICO is responding to technological challenges in AI, biometrics, advertising and other issues. The ICO is mindful that we need to achieve a ‘thoughtful regulatory response’ now, as these issues will shape our lives in the decades to come.

The ICO is making some welcome changes to the way it operates – for example, its fining policy. It is still not easy to get to grips with, but organisations will appreciate more transparency in this field. More innovations are included in the ICO25 three-year strategy. For the first time, the ICO will also be able to retain some of the monies coming in from monetary penalties which will strengthen its enforcement work

Laura Linkomies
Editor, Privacy Laws & Business

July 2022