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Data Protection Bill 2017

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

The Data Protection Bill 2017 is legislation that will replace the Data Protection Act of 1998. It is designed to balance the privacy needs of United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) citizens with the interests of business.

The Data Protection Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech on June 21, 2017. Like the EU's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), the UK's Data Protection Bill regulates any company handling large amounts of citizens' private data. Many of the provisions of DPA 2017 are like those of the GDPR, including transparency and requirements for a data protection officer (DPO) to oversee how data is handled.

The bill also contains a number of strong sanctions that address data governance malpractice. For example, reconstructing the identity of an individual from anonymized data is a chargeable offense. Fines up to four percent of a business' annual global turnover, or €20 million, whichever is highest, can be levied for malpractice.

Due to the withdrawel of the UK from the European Union and subsequent switch in direction from the GDPR to the Data Protection Bill 2017, there is some confusion as to business’ obligations to data subjects of the EU, although the legislation is intended to address data security issues for both EU and UK citizens. The bill itself has been criticized for being unclear and referring back to GDPR for the definition of many terms requiring more cross-referencing and confusion, including a number of agreed-upon modifications to the GDPR to make it work for the benefit of the UK in areas such as academic research, financial services and child protection.

This was last updated in October 2017

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