The UK data reform is gaining international attention: Members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament are visiting London from 2-4 November to meet with UK Government representatives, civil society and other interest groups.
Open Rights Group are participating in these meetings, with the aim of briefing members of the LIBE committee on the latest developments concerning the UK Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (aka the Data Discrimination Bill). Although the Bill was withdrawn from Parliament, a common thread runs through the reform process, starting from the National Data Strategy, the TIGRR report and the Data: a new direction consultation.
In this blog post, we take stock of these main trends, explaining why they are raising the alarm in the European Union, and why the new, upcoming DCMS consultation will likely exacerbate the issues we identified in our analysis of the Data Discrimination Bill.
Diverging from a human-rights framework of data protection
The UK Government have long advocated for “freeing up” the use of data as a way to grow the economy and improve the efficiency of public services. In the Bill, this is reflected by the provision of discretionary regulatory-making powers, which would allow the Secretary of State to designate data uses and reuses that are always considered legitimate under UK data protection law. On top of that, these new regulatory-making powers would override primary legislation, thus allowing the Government to define the boundaries of what is a legitimate interference