UK's proposed GDPR overhaul ‘must not disrupt data flow’

Changes to Britain’s GDPR rules must not put the flow of data between the UK and the EU at risk, according to BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

The UK’s professional body for information technology issued the warning following the UK government’s proposal of a new post-Brexit data reform bill as announced in the Queen’s Speech last week.

The government is keen to replace ‘highly complex’ data protection laws inherited from the EU with a reformed bill which would overhaul and combine existing GDPR legislation and the UK Data Protection Act – to streamline data protection laws and cut red tape.

BCS said that the advantages of a leaner data protection regime should not conflict with the UK’s existing ‘data adequacy’ arrangement with the EU.

Sam De Silva, chair of BCS’ law specialist group and a technology and data partner at international law firm CMS, said: “What was in the queen’s speech in relation to the reform of data protection was not surprising, because it generally follows the principles outlined in the Government’s Consultation Paper on Reforms to the UK Data Protection Regime – ‘Data: A New Direction.’”

The changes are intended to help increase the competitiveness of UK businesses and boost the economy. While details of the proposals are yet to be published, it is anticipated that web cookie consent banners that appear when visiting a website could be scrapped as part of the reforms.

“However, of course the devil will be in the detail - which we do not have sight of yet,” De Silva continued.

“If that detail reveals that the web cookie consent banners are to be removed, whilst that appears radical, organisations would still be required to comply with the UK GDPR principles on lawfulness, fairness and transparency when using cookies or similar technologies.”

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