UK Government Plans Data Protection Overhaul To Give Consumers More Control Over Personal Information

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The government has announced plans to overhaul data protection laws to allow people to gain more control over what happens to their personal information.

As outlined in a proposal by the government, the measures would give individuals more control over their data by both giving the right to be forgotten, and allowing them to request their personal data be erased.

In an example, the government said that under the new proposal, people would be able to ask social media platforms to delete information they posted in their childhood.

It also said that the reliance on default opt-out or pre-selected tick boxes to give organisations consent to collect personal data would “become a thing of the past”, as they are “largely ignored”.

The plans would be part of a new Data Protection Bill drafted by Digital Minister Matt Hancock.

Discussing the proposals, Hancock said: “Our 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.

“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.”

According to a statement posted online by the government, the Data Protection Bill will also:

  • Make it simpler to withdraw consent for the use of personal data
  • Allow people to ask for their personal data held by companies to be erased
  • Enable parents and guardians to give consent for their child’s data to be used
  • Require ‘explicit’ consent to be necessary for processing sensitive personal data
  • Expand the definition of ‘personal data’ to include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA
  • Update and strengthen data protection law to reflect the changing nature and scope of the digital
  • economy
  • Make it easier and free for individuals to require an organisation to disclose the personal data it holds
  • on them
  • Make it easier for customers to move data between service providers

The bill would also hit companies that do not comply to the new regulations with significant fines.

The ICO would be given power to issue fines of up to £17m or 4% of global turnover “in cases of the most serious data breaches.”

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