Even if Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) proceeds on pace, the nation won’t leave the conglomerate of countries until early 2019. But a move of this magnitude comes with a host of complications — among them the need for Britain to comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect May 2018.
SecurityWeek reported that the British government recently announced a U.K. data protection bill that both updates existing legislation and ensures the nation meets GDPR standards. While the official wording of the new law isn’t yet available, a published Statement of Intent provided some insight about upcoming provisions. Here are the highlights of this post-Brexit security plan.
Defending British Data
During the June 21 Queen’s Speech, Britain’s monarch stated the “new law will ensure that the United Kingdom retains its world-class regime protecting personal data,” SecurityWeek noted. To achieve this aim, the Minister of State for Digital Matt Hancock said that the new law will be implemented “in a way that as far as possible preserves the concepts of the Data Protection Act to to ensure that the transition for all is as smooth as possible, while complying with the GDPR and DPLED in full.”
Put simply? Businesses that comply with the new U.K. data protection bill should automatically be in compliance with the GDPR. But as noted by the SecurityWeek piece, there are new provisions in Britain’s law that go beyond the protection of the EU’s legislation.
For example, while the GDPR says companies must anonymize or pseudonymize personal data, Britain’s new bill creates an offense for “recklessly re-identifying individuals from anonymized or pseudonymized data.” Anyone who knowingly handles or processes this data is guilty of an offense, and the maximum penalty is an unlimited fine.
Digging Into the Details of the UK Data Protection Bill
According to The Telegraph, individuals gain more control over their personal data under the new law: While the GDPR already allows people to ask businesses for access to their personal data or have it wiped, Britain’s new legislation compels social media companies to delete all posts made by an individual before they were 18 if they make such a request.
Wired, meanwhile, noted that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) gets more power to defend consumer interests by issuing higher fines — up to 17 million pounds or 4 percent of global turnover in serious cases.
In addition, the new law is expanding the definition of personal data to include identifiers such as IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA in an effort to limit web tracking without user consent. In the same vein, the U.K. data protection bill will also require consumers to opt in rather than opt out of email and cold-calling lists, along with making them explicitly aware that consenting to such practices could mean their data is passed on to third-party marketing or advertising agencies.
Britain is preparing for the IT complexity of Brexit with a new data protection bill that should align with GDPR expectations, while also providing Britons with greater control over their online privacy and personal data.