Today, the Queen announced a new Data Protection Bill in the Government's programme of legislation over the next two years. Broadly, the Bill will:
- give people new rights to "require major social media platforms to delete information held about them at the age of 18";
- allow police and judicial authorities to continue to exchange information quickly and easily with the UK's international partners in the fight against terrorism and other serious crimes;
- modernise and update the regime for data processing by law enforcement agencies. The regime will cover both domestic processing and cross-border transfers of personal data; and
- update the powers and sanctions available to the information commissioner.
The Bill was announced as part of a wider legislative programme broadly designed to prepare the UK for a 'smooth and orderly departure' from the EU. This is, of course, at a time when Europe is preparing for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (see ICO website for further details).
Announcing a new Data Protection Bill will undoubtedly stir expectations. Organisations collect a lot of personal data about the people they serve. Ensuring their data is kept safely and that their privacy is protected is an important central pillar of the current Data Protection Act.
Alongside this, we have found that protecting peoples wider interests (ensuring that they are safe and secure, and able to participate in society and our economy) is also important. And sharing information and data is central to delivering better public services to people when they need them. This ensures they can be supported into work, get the right care in their home, and ensure they are safeguarded when they are in danger. It is important that we understand peoples expectations of when and how their information and data will be shared to support them when they most need that support.
So, as the process of preparing a new Data Protection Bill is started, bear in mind:
- information sharing is central to delivering better public services;
- information sharing must be done safely and in a way that respects peoples privacy;
- legislation can facilitate change, but at the end of the day it's services that need to change; and
- it's important to understand peoples expectations around the sharing of information and data.
To read more on the new Data Protection Bill, visit the technology page on the BBC website.