Not another Data Protection Act!

Geoffrey Sturgess
Geoffrey Sturgess

On 7th August the Digital Minister of the UK Government announced the imminent publication of a “Data Protection Bill” and released a “Statement of Intent” in which the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport sets out its plans for the future regulation of personal data usage by business and its enforcement.

According to Geoffrey Sturgess, a data protection law expert with Warner Goodman Solicitors, those who have been working towards compliance with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may be puzzled by this announcement as when it comes into force in May next year GDPR will be the new data protection law for the UK.

In fact the Statement of Intent does little more than announce the introduction of the GDPR rules in the form of an Act of Parliament and the repeal of the current Data Protection Act. It reinforces earlier statements by the Government that EU data protection rules will continue to have force in the UK after Brexit. Those preparing for GDPR need not be concerned at the prospect of the new law.

Geoffrey Sturgess says; “If we are to continue trading with our mainland European partners or be able to effectively manage enterprises with branches in the UK and other European states after Brexit our data protection laws must provide an equivalent protection to those which apply on mainland Europe. The UK Government has now made clear how they intend to obtain such “equivalency”.

GDPR does allow the member states some latitude in relation to certain elements of data protection law. The Statement of Intent says that the new Act will:

o    State that children of 13 or older can consent to their data being processed—parental consent will not be necessary.  
o    Allow employers and others with legitimate reason for doing so to process details of criminal convictions—GDPR only allows this by organs of the state.
o    Rectify what the UK Government sees as a problem for research and archiving organisations by removing the data subject’s right to rectify inaccurate historical data.

The Bill will also be used to introduce the provisions of the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive into UK law. This deals with the processing of data and cross border co-operation for the purposes of law enforcement.

If you have questions regarding GDPR, you can contact Geoffrey Sturgess at 02380 717717 or email geoffreysturgess@warnergoodman.co.uk.

 

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