Gov announces post-Brexit data reforms

The government has announced a new post-Brexit data strategy for the UK based on “common sense, not box ticking.”

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden said that new reforms would “overhaul” Britain’s existing data regime to drive innovation and better protect the public from digital threats.

A consultation launched on Thursday outlines plans to introduce tougher penalties for nuisance calls and text messages.

The document will also examine what more can be done to mitigate algorithmic bias.

“Data is one of the most important resources in the world and we want our laws to be based on common sense, not box-ticking,” said Dowden. “Now that we have left the EU, we have the freedom to create a new world-leading data regime that unleashes the power of data across the economy and society.”

The government said that now the UK has left the EU, it wants to create a pro-growth and trusted data regime that “unleashes data’s power across the economy and society.”

It also wants to “remove unnecessary barriers” to responsible data use.

In response to the new plans, techUK said that encouraging innovation should not come at the cost of weakening data protection standards. It added that businesses will want to take a close look at the proposed reforms to privacy management frameworks and would want to see the UK maintain its data adequacy agreement with the EU.

As part of the consultation, a new governance model is planned for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) including an independent board and chief executive to mirror the governance structures of other regulators such as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and Ofcom.

The move follows the selection of John Edwards as the government’s preferred candidate as the new information commissioner, who is currently serving as the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner.

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