Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, says that she welcomes the government’s intention to implement the GDPR but her general approach to derogations is to introduce them only when they are necessary for the effective functioning of the GDPR or where there is a clear need. She is in favour of replicating the existing exemptions and measures under the Data Protection Act 1998 where experience shows that they work satisfactorily. This is largely what the government is proposing. ‘This will minimise disruption and bring certainty and coherence to the data protection regulatory regime,’ she writes in a briefing paper to the House of Lords which is considering the draft Data Protection Bill today, 10 October.
The government’s approach is to replicate as much as the current DP Act as possible. However, the draft Bill would also implement the so-called EU Police Directive, which is a novel approach. ‘Including these provisions in a single piece of primary data protection legislation is welcome’, Denham says.
The draft Bill proposes that the Commissioner would be empowered to carry out inspections in all sectors, something that Denham very much supports.
The Commissioner also welcomes the two new offences introduced by the draft Bill, separately from the GDPR:
• the re-identification of de-identified data, and
• alteration of personal data to prevent disclosure.
Reassuringly, the Commissioner says that ‘Issuing fines has always been, and will continue to be, a last resort and the Bill continues to provide her with a number of other regulatory tools including information and enforcement notices.’
The Commissioner reminds the government of the importance of the UK having a strong relationship with other EU data protection regulators post Brexit, including the European Data Protection Board, to enable cross border enforcement. She is pleased that the government has taken on board many of the recommendations made by her office to improve the Bill.
Finally, the ICO is content that the draft Bill supports collective (class) actions: civil society and other representative bodies would be able to act on behalf of individuals.
See the ICO’s comments at https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/what-we-do/ico-policy-views/
The House of Lords started to debate the EU data protection package report today. See http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/749ce537-5b88-4862-b70c-1e0015d43375
(DP discussion started around 15.45)