DCMS preparing to resume work on data protection reform

16/11/2022 | IAPP

With work on the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill expected to recommence anytime now, Owen Rowland, Deputy Director for Domestic Data Protection Policy at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), spoke to privacy professionals at the IAPP Data Protection Congress 2022 in Brussels. Rowland confirmed there would not be a full-blown public consultation akin to the 10-week Data: a new direction public comment period that drew nearly 3,000 comments earlier in the year. "It's important to clarify [consultation type]. However, we are genuinely interested in continuing to engage with the whole range of stakeholders. Different business sectors as well as privacy and consumer groups," Rowland said. "We'll be providing details in the next couple of weeks in terms of the opportunities that we are going to particularly set up."

Rowland said the bill might not need a radical overhaul, but he welcomes comments that can raise "amendments to text that we should make." He went on to say that the consultation aims to avoid missing significant points and to provide opportunities to gain stakeholder insights. Also on the panel discussion were Eleonor Duhs, Head of Data Privacy and John Bowman (CIPP/E, CIPM, FIP), AI Ethics Client Engagement Lead at IBM. In response, Eleonor Duhs supported the consultation but feared it lacked clarity. "What's missing is the consultation approach. … If you want to bring forward new legislation, you set out the details so people know what the policy is going to be and comment. That's the democratic process we aspire to."

While John Bowman said, he hopes DCMS will look at "interoperability and interaction with the wider world" in the context of EU adequacy and data flows. "From a domestic point of view, the government should seek to create an environment where it's attractive for businesses to invest in the digital economy. But they absolutely need to obtain the trust of the consumer and general public as well," Bowman said. "I think the key is to provide this balanced regulatory and legislative agenda that satisfies all the demands."

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