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  • Writer's pictureJohn McVeigh

Major concerns with changes to data protection legislation currently under scrutiny in the House of Lords.

Updated: Apr 17

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill moved from the House of Commons to the UK House of Lords in December ’23. The minutes from the second reading by the noble Lords make interesting and many would say troubling reading. A wide range of concerns with the bill have been raised by all sides and various references have been made to the concerns of external parties including the British Medical Association (BMA), the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the European Court of Justice. 

One of the key issues is that at a time when countries around the world are implementing ever-more robust data protection legislation, the UK seems intent on moving in the opposite direction and lowering standards. Such changes increase the risk of the EU revoking its adequacy decision which would have a massive impact on UK business. The New Economics Foundation and UCL European Institute have conservatively estimated the cost of losing data adequacy at £1 billion to £1.6 billion!

In relation to these concerns, Lord Clement-Jones summarised the position during the second reading of the bill as follows:

“The Government’s own impact assessment acknowledges that, as the UK diverges from the EU GDPR, the risk of the EU revoking its adequacy decisions will increase. So I very much hope that the Minister, in response to all the questions he has been asked about data adequacy, has some pretty good answers, because there is certainly a considerable degree of concern around the House about the future of data adequacy.”

So, it seems the noble Lords will have no easy task as they work through the Committee stage. Here’s hoping they get it right!

Full details from the second reading in the House of Lords have been published here.

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