UK Government announces Data Protection Bill

August 11, 2017 News, News & Opinion, Opinion

The new legislation will ensure that after Brexit, the UK’s laws on data protection stay in line with the EU’s GDPR (already announced and due to come into force on May 25th 2018). This is important as there will be a period of about a year during which the UK will come under the jurisdiction of the GDPR. But it’s not just about Brexit: there are likely to be areas in which the UK seeks to set ‘gold standards’ in data protection.

The bill is expected to have its first reading in September when parliament returns after the summer recess. A date has yet to be set for the second reading, which is when the lawmakers will get the chance to debate it.

In the meantime, Wood for Trees’ parent company MyLife Digital has released a statement in response to the announcement of the UK Goverment’s bill:

MyLife Digital Ltd.’s response to the New Data Protection Bill: Our Planned Reforms Statement of Intent

7th August 2017

We welcome the Government’s approach to adopt and adapt the EU General Data Protection Regulation to meet the requirements of the growing base of technology users across the UK. In particular we applaud the desire to keep the UK at the pinnacle of data protection with the continual setting of gold standards – not only for protection, but for innovations in the digital arena and personal information management.

With Brexit talks underway, the UK needs to ensure that organisations based here maintain adequate levels of data protection to support future trade through data transfers internationally. Being a trusted and respected third country outside of the EU will allow organisations to seamlessly maintain the strong relationships they have built within EU member states and beyond.

We are heartened to see the Data Protection Bill will bring clarity to the GDPR to remove confusion and address some of the misunderstandings surrounding the legislation. We have noted in particular the confusion between consent and preference. One being the explicit permission to present information to a citizen, the other being how and when they would like to receive said information. These two terms are most definitely not the same.

There had been confirmation that the UK was to adopt the GDPR. Many organisations have begun policy and procedural changes ahead of the new data protection legislation as well as the EU Privacy Directive. This announcement by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport provides the assurance that these regulations are now law.

From our part, MyLife Digital has been at the forefront of technology, rethinking personal data and creating ‘Privacy by Design’ solutions, since 2015.

When we founded our business, the GDPR had not been proposed but we believed – strongly – that the citizen’s best interests should be at the heart of how organisations collect, store, utilise and analyse data. From the enablement of citizens to obtain a clear view of how their data is managed for themselves, to allowing them simple mechanisms to act on their rights.

For organisations, this highlights the strengthening of trust and improvement in engagement our framework can bring.

The digital age brings about the potential for sharing of rich data, but only if the relationship between citizen and organisation is transparent, and only if there is trust. Still further if there is trust, data can bring benefits to society as a whole.

Accountability for the GDPR, and now the Data Protection Bill, should be a Business as Usual exercise across the entire company. In fact, it’s much more than compliance – it’s ethical best practice when it comes to respecting personal data which after all belongs to the citizen, not the organisation.

Trust is central to our way of thinking. John Hall, Chief Executive Officer, MyLife Digital Ltd says:

“With Consentric, we deliver trust. More than products and services, we’re about communicating differently. Developing new and deeper relationships with your market. We enable people partnerships that gain you powerful insights. That add value to the individual, to the organisation and to society as a whole. So, everyone benefits. That’s the shape of the new digital economy. One that’s based on trust.”

If data is the currency of the digital economy, then trust should be the credit rating.