UK government starts consultation to replace the GDPR

As we reported last time, the UK government has started a consultation called ‘Data: A New Direction’ and you have until 19th November 2021 to have your say.

According to the consultation document, the reforms will:

  • strengthen our position as a science superpower, simplifying data use by researchers and developers of AI and other cutting-edge technologies
  • build on the unprecedented and life-saving use of data to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic
  • secure the UK’s status as a global hub for the free and responsible flow of personal data -complementing our ambitious agenda for new trade deals and data partnerships with some of the world’s fastest growing economies
  • reinforce the responsibility of businesses to keep personal information safe, while empowering them to grow and innovate
  • ensure that the ICO remains a world-leading regulator, enabling people to use data responsibly to achieve economic and social goals

There is much to digest, and I will report back after I had read it again and finalised our submission, but there are 3 takeaway points for us at the moment:

  • The regulations move much towards a risk-based approach, but often organisations just want to be told what to do, and your assessment of risk might result in you continuing with what you are doing already
  • Non-profits may be able to use the soft opti-in currently denied them under PECR, to be able to send marketing emails and SMS messages without consent in every case
  • If we deviate too far from the current UK GDPR, the EU could revoke our decision of data adequacy, and that could cause real problems when transferring data to and from the EU (data centres in Ireland are just one example)