The British government has published its statement of intent regarding the country’s data protection laws, declaring that the data of British citizens will be better protected with strengthened measures included in the new UK Data Protection Bill.
Under government plans, individuals will have more control over their data by having the “right to be forgotten” and can also ask social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook to delete their personal data.
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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will also be given more power to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines, of up to £17 million or four percent of global turnover, in cases of the most serious data breaches.
“The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world,” said the government’s digital minister Matt Hancock.
“It will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit. We have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive.”
The proposed Data Protection Bill wants to make it simpler to withdraw consent for the use of personal data, while allowing parents and guardians to give consent for their child’s data to be used. Organisations will need to gain explicit consent before sensitive personal data is processed, and the definition of personal data will be expanded to include IP addresses, internet cookies, and DNA.
The new Bill will also align UK law with the EU’s forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation, which is set to come into force on May 25, 2018. GDPR requires anyone handling Europeans’ data anywhere in the world to abide by its regulations, so this will enable British businesses to exchange and handle data easily with European partners.
The government is also eyeing up reforms that will make it easier and free for citizens to require an organisation to disclose the personal data it holds on them, and customers will also have an easier time moving data between service providers.
Britain’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement: “We are pleased the government recognises the importance of data protection, its central role in increasing trust and confidence in the digital economy and the benefits the enhanced protections will bring to the public.”