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Last updated: 15.09.17

A guide to the Data Protection Bill

The updated Data Protection Bill will allow users to have more control over their personal information, providing them with extra protection as digital and technology advances.

In conjunction with the European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that are due to come into effect as of May 2018, the government has committed to updating and strengthening laws through a new Data Protection Bill.

According to the government, the Data Protection Bill will provide the public with the confidence that their data will be managed both securely and safely.

Why is this necessary?

Did you know that, according to the government, over 80 per cent of people feel that they do not have complete control over their online data? Paired with the recent cyber security attacks, the rapid advancement of technology and the depths of the internet, it is crucial that the government adapts to this in order to protect users.

The new legislation is designed to sign European privacy rules into British law, as well as update the current Data Protection Act, which has not been altered since 1998.

What difference will it make?

Under the Data Protection Bill, individuals have more control over their data as they will have the right to be forgotten and can ask for their personal data to be erased. In addition to this, people can request social media channels delete any information they have posted before the age of 18.

Currently, social media platforms rely too heavily on default opt-out or pre-selected ‘tick boxes’ - that are often ignored - to give consent for organisations to collect personal data.

Businesses and organisations will also receive support to ensure they are able to manage and secure any data they have properly. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will also be provided with more power to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines if companies aren’t compliant with the law. Fines could be as expensive as £17 million or four per cent of a business's global turnover - whichever is the most.

What is the Data Protection Bill’s purpose?

Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital, has said that the measures are designed to support businesses in their use of data and give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account.

He commented: “The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world.

“The Bill 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.”

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