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Plans to reform the UK data protection regime


The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) published a press release on 9 September 2021 setting out government plans to reform the UK's data protection laws, and on 10 September, opened a consultation on the changes.

Solicitor Jessica Wade in the Steele Raymond Commercial Team has taken a look at some of changes that are the subject of the consultation.

Proposed changes to the UK’s data protection regime in a post-Brexit environment

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is embarking on a major new consultation centring on proposed changes to the UK’s data protection regime in a post-Brexit environment alongside reforms to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The government is seeking feedback on wide-ranging changes that could affect the need for businesses to carry out data protection impact assessments (DPIAs), existing record keeping duties and the structure of the UK’s data regulator. Many of the proposed reforms are targeted at the accountability framework that is built into the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) currently. Further reforms on the docket include increasing the threshold for notifying the ICO of personal data breaches and the removal of cookies consent pop-ups as has also previously been put forward.

National Data Strategy

The reforms are part of the government’s National Data Strategy and are intended to address a lack of clarity as to how the UK GDPR is applied and reduce the burden on organisations simply trying to do the right thing.

This is likely to be welcomed by businesses adjusting to the post Schrems II (a key ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union in July 2020 declaring that Privacy Shield, the EU-US personal data transfer mechanism, was no longer lawful) cross-border data transfer regime, particularly those proposals which aim to address what the government describes as “consent fatigue” by clarifying the circumstances in which businesses will be able to rely on their ‘legitimate interests’ for the processing of personal data.

The consultation on these changes will close at 11.45 pm on 19 November 2021.

If you would like to discuss your Commercial legal matters with our specialist Commercial Team please contact Jessica Wade directly or email [email protected].

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