Tech industry welcomes gov plans to reform data protection laws

Technology trade association techUK has welcomed the announcement of reforms to existing data protection laws by the government.

On Tuesday, as part of the Queen’s speech, the government said that a new 'Data Reform Bill' would take advantage of Brexit to “create a world class data rights regime” that allows the country to develop a “pro-growth and trusted” UK data protection framework.

It also shared plans to “modernise” the Information Commissioner’s Office, giving it the power to take stronger action against organisations who breach data rules while requiring it to be more accountable to Parliament and the public.

Alongside this, it said that the new law would increase industry participation in smart data schemes, to give citizens and small businesses more control of their data.

"For the tech sector, the flagship announcement was the proposal to reform the UK’s data protection laws,” said Julian David, techUK chief executive. "Developing a clearer, more trusted, and innovation-enabling data governance system is one of the most obvious opportunities of Brexit.”

The chief exec said that the new legislation should deliver changes to the law to clarify the legal basis for how data can be re-used for research and innovation, as well as introduce an exhaustive list of activities where data can be more easily accessed to help companies innovate. He said that this could make it easier for companies to prevent algorithmic bias and take more effective action to prevent fraud.

"However, any changes need to maintain the high standards of UK data protection law,” added David. “Achieving this will mean the UK can continue international data partnerships such as with the EU."

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