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Data Protection Bill 2017 – What lies ahead?

Lodders Solicitors - Charity Law

The much anticipated Data Protection Bill has recently been introduced to the House of Lords, with many hoping this would bring clarification on the UK’s position towards the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  Mark Lewis, Charity law and GDPR specialist at Lodders, explores what the new Bill hopes to achieve.

The Bill is set to replace the current legislation, the Data Protection Act 1998, aiming to ‘update data protection laws for the digital age’ and lay the framework for data protection ahead of the incoming GDPR next year. Once in effect, the Bill will remain in place throughout and beyond the Brexit process and is intended to facilitate the exchange and regulation of data across the European Union.

With increasing uncertainty around data protection obligations and how businesses and organisations will be expected to meet requirements, the Bill is a welcome insight into the Government’s plans for data protection in the UK. As well as overhauling the previous Data Protection Act to ensure it fits with our modern and digitalised lifestyle, the Bill intends to encourage and enable people to take control of their own data.

In a fact sheet produced by the Government, the following points have been outlined as aims of the Data Protection Bill:

  • Replace the Data Protection Act 1998 with a new law that provides a comprehensive and modern framework for data protection in the UK, with stronger sanctions for malpractice.
  • Set new standards for protecting general data, in accordance with the GDPR, give people more control over use of their data, and provide new rights to move or delete personal data
  • Preserve existing tailored exemptions that have worked well in the Data Protection Act, carrying them over to the new law to ensure that UK businesses and organisations can continue to support world-leading research, financial services, journalism and legal services.
  • Provide a bespoke framework tailored to the needs of our criminal justice agencies and national security organisations, including the intelligence agencies, to protect the rights of victims, witnesses and suspects while ensuring we can tackle the changing nature of the global threats the UK faces.

Since the Bill’s publication, Elizabeth Denham of the Information Commissioner’s Office has commented:

“The introduction of the Data Protection Bill is welcome as it will put in place one of the final pieces of much needed data protection reform. Effective, modern data protection laws with robust safeguards are central to securing the public’s trust and confidence in the use of personal information within the digital economy, the delivery of public services and the fight against crime.”

As ever, data protection continues to be a topic of much consideration. With the introduction of the new Data Protection Bill, we can expect to see more clear-cut guidance on how to manage data and ensure compliance with new regulations, but this remains a difficult issue to navigate.

To find out more about Data Protection for charities and other organisations, please contact Mark Lewis on 01789 206135 or via email.

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Get in touch

To find out more about Data Protection for charities and other organisations, please contact Mark Lewis on 01789 206135 or via email.