Big changes coming for UK data protection?

[STOP PRESS]:We wrote this on 9th September and the following day the UK government launched its ‘Data : A New Direction’ consultation. There will be more in the next insight newsletter, including how you can have your say, plus what might be the end of the need for consent for some email marketing. More next time!

There has been much speculation recently over whether the UK might move away from data protection standards as set out in the UK GDPR.

On 26th August the Digital Secretary, the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden, announced a number of measures including:

  • Focus on data adequacy partnerships with priorities for the United States of America, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre and Colombia – the US element of this will presumably replace the now-invalid EU-US Privacy Shield
  • A consultation to be launched shortly to look at how the innovative use of data can help increase trade
  • An announcement that the preferred new Information Commissioner is John Edwards, currently New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner

Of perhaps more concern, or optimism depending on your viewpoint, was when Oliver Dowden talked of reforming our data laws “so that they’re based on common sense, not box-ticking”.

I am certainly not aware of data protection ‘box ticking’ and generally common sense seems to be at the heart of the UK GDPR. So many non-profits have invested so much in demonstrating compliance, it would be a real shame to think that things were about to change significantly again. And I do wonder whether any changes will be for the benefit of data subjects, whose personal data is at stake, or for organisations wanting to monetise it. I just hope that non-profits are not caught in the middle of it all.