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What’s the Latest in Data Protection? An Outline of Some Key Elements of the proposed UK Data Protection and Digital Information Bill

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Data Protection has been at the forefront of the news recently given the recent Nigel Farage and NatWest Data Subject Access Request headlines. If you would like to know more about Data Subject Access Requests then see Kai Sammer’s recent article here.

Data protection has always been a critical issue, especially with the rise of AI and its impact on privacy rights. After Brexit, the UK is determined to lead the world in legislative and regulatory developments in this area. The proposed UK Data Protection and Digital Information Bill builds on the existing UK GDPR principles while addressing practical challenges faced by businesses. Let’s explore the key changes proposed in the Bill and how they might affect your business.

Legitimate Interests

The concept of “legitimate interest” has not changed in the Bill but there are examples of its use. These examples include, like direct marketing, intra-group data transmission, and network security, are not an exhaustive list. Businesses will still need to evaluate if their interests are legitimate through a balancing test.

Expanded Definition of "Scientific Research"

The definition of “scientific research” in the Bill has been broadened to include “processing for research purposes”, regardless of funding sources or commercial gains. This change aims to promote innovation by removing data protection barriers for sharing scientific research.

Exemption from Record-Keeping Duties

Under the Bill, controllers and processors won’t need to maintain records of processing activities unless they engage in high-risk processing. This exemption aims to ease the burden on businesses, as keeping records for all activities may not be practical.

Direct Marketing Rules

Electronic service providers must notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if they suspect direct marketing rules have been breached. Penalties may apply for non-reporting. This is likely to lead to more ICO scrutiny of direct marketing practices.

Automated Decision Making and AI Profiling

The Bill considers automated decision-making and AI profiling when determining the level of human involvement in a decision. However, it’s not entirely clear whether this means minimal human involvement or if profiling falls under automated decision-making subject to Article 22.

The proposed UK Data Protection and Digital Information Bill aims to enhance the existing UK GDPR framework and clarify where it applies. While the core principles remain unchanged, businesses should be aware of new obligations, especially concerning direct marketing and AI profiling. If you would like more information about your data protection policies then contact our Commercial and Corporate team today.

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