Labour calls for privacy to be included as a fundamental right in DP Bill
At the Data Protection Bill’s second reading at the House of Commons yesterday evening, the Opposition demanded that the Data Protection Bill is amended so that it explicitly recognises privacy an an unqualified fundamental right as per Article 8 in the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Secretary, Tom Watson, said that Labour is supportive of the Bill but certain amendments are needed. He said that the EU Withdrawal Bill risks limiting data privacy rights as ministers in the run up to Brexit could later amend any bill that had been adopted to comply with EU law.
He said that the DP Bill should be amended so that it would allow for collective action to be initiated by consumer groups without a named individual. This type of ‘super complainant’ would help individuals by bringing representative actions and creating a stronger enforcement framework.
Labour supports the Lords’ amendment for age-appropriate web design to better protect children’s privacy but wants to do more.
Labour will make its own proposal that will be more ambitious than the government’s Digital Charter. Watson spoke of ‘data capitalism’ and a statutory code of data rights. Watson criticised the government’s recent announcement not to conduct a Leveson 2 enquiry. “It is now up to us (MPs) as to what we want to do about phone hacking and David Cameron’s promises.”
Data Protection Minister, Matt Hancock, who introduced the Bill was constantly interrupted by MPs who sought more detailed information. He was pressed to provide more details about how the UK will guarantee uninterrupted data flows after Brexit. He said that the U.K. will seek to stay aligned with the EU on any future DP legislative developments and the ICO to remain engaged with future technical standards at EU level.
Hancock said that he would recommend removing the amendments the House of Lords made regarding press freedom and data protection. He defended the government’s position of exempting immigrants from certain data subject rights by saying that the GDPR ‘allows for exemptions’ when there is a legitimate ground for holding the data.