UK Data Protection Bill Advances with Crucial Amendments Amid Economic Impact Assessment

On November 29th, the UK House of Commons moved the proposed UK Data Protection and Digital Information Bill closer to passage, sidestepping a recommitment vote following the introduction of government-backed amendments. The bill, initiated on March 8th, aims to reform the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018, with recent amendments emphasizing economic benefits and data access agreements with the US.

Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, stressed the bill’s pivotal role in reshaping the data protection approach inherited from the EU. He highlighted how the legislation targets growth, innovation, and enhanced data utilization in post-Brexit Britain.

Government-led amendments, spanning over 120 pages, signify a significant aspect of the bill’s evolution. These amendments cover diverse aspects, from enabling telecommunications companies to process data for US data access agreements to refining controllers’ obligations for data subject access requests.

Key amendments include facilitating UK-US Data Access Agreement compliance for telecom firms, streamlining data subject access request responses, retracting secretary of state veto powers over ICO codes, and empowering the ICO to serve notices via email. Additionally, amendments address data access for fraud prevention, preservation of data related to deceased minors on social media, and other technical nuances.

The bill, alongside amendments, has evolved into a comprehensive piece of legislation accommodating inputs from various stakeholders. It navigates real-world data protection challenges, promising improved standards without jeopardizing the EU adequacy decision for the UK.

Expected to exceed 300 pages, the bill stands as an amalgamation of discreet legislative reforms seeking to address practical frictions within the data protection regime. Despite its breadth, the bill is poised for passage by Spring 2024, signaling a significant overhaul to UK data protection laws.

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