Government to announce Data Reform Bill in Queen’s Speech to deliver ‘Brexit dividend’ | Scientific and technical news

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The government will announce a new data reform bill in the Queen’s Speech intended to allow the UK to deviate from EU privacy law, Sky News has learned.

Industry representatives have told Sky News they believe the UK could benefit from the reforms, but there are fears that if not done correctly they will ultimately cost the economy more than they are worth. report.

It comes as the Conservative Party wants to claim it has paid a ‘Brexit dividend’ ahead of the next general election, alongside an urgent need to boost GDP to tackle economic problems.

This was the case when the first reforms were planned after the COVID-19[feminine] recession, but both needs are seen as even more critical now that the Bank of England plans a recession and a sharp rise in inflation to 10.25% by the end of the year.

There are fears that if the reforms aren’t substantial enough they won’t give businesses much of a boost, while if the UK strays too far from EU standards it could lose its ‘business status’. adequacy of data”, which means that companies will face greater compliance. costs when receiving data from the block.

What happens and when?

The new bill will be announced in the Queen’s Speech next week, Tuesday May 10.

Shortly after the speech, in the weeks that Sky News understands, the government will publish its response to a consultation with businesses and civil society on data protection reforms.

Westminster sources have told Sky News that the bill, which is part of this wider package of data protection reforms, will be published this summer.

The broader package includes the removal of cookie consent banners, although these are not actually covered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but by the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

The bill’s passage through parliament is likely to be marked by arguments over whether it risks jeopardizing the UK’s data adequacy status.

Anticipating the risk of a new battle in parliament, number 10 promised at the end of January a Brexit Freedoms Bill this would essentially allow the government to primarily change legislation – such as the UK’s GDPR – without the need for parliamentary approval. However, this bill did not come to fruition.

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The bill is part of a package of data protection reforms the government plans to introduce
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What does the company want?

In its response to the government’s consultation, industry body techUK praised “maintaining GDPR fundamentals”, meaning the UK could make practical changes to regulations without compromising data flows. data between the UK and the EU.

Neil Ross, Associate Director of Policy at techUK, said: “Developing a clearer, more reliable and innovation-friendly data governance system is one of Brexit’s most obvious opportunities.”

Mr Ross warned of the need to “strike the right balance between respecting citizens’ rights, allowing data to be reused for research and innovation, while supporting global data flows”.

“However, the government will have to be bold and seize these opportunities, otherwise it is only likely to make half-hearted changes and create further compliance for UK businesses without capturing any of the benefits of increased R&D and innovation. UK.”

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Almost all of the public responses from industry and civil society to the government consultation highlighted the importance of the UK maintaining its EU adequacy status.

However, there have been calls – particularly from Brexiteers within the Conservative Party – for the UK to scrap matching altogether and instead promote data exchanges with other states it has agreements with. trade, notably Japan and Singapore.

These calls were made in a report by the Task Force on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform – led by Sir Iain Duncan Smith – which focused ‘on areas that could see change happening quickly. and have an economic impact in the coming years”.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith
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Sir Iain Duncan Smith is among those calling for widespread reforms to EU-era regulations

Loss of suitability could cost UK businesses £1.6bn

A report by the New Economics Foundation delivered what it said was a conservative estimate that if the UK were to lose its adequacy status it would increase business costs by at least £1.6bn sterling over the next 10 years.

“And that’s just increased compliance costs, we’ve specifically excluded in our estimates the wider impacts of trade displacement… UK businesses are starting to lose European customers,” said report author Duncan McCann. , to Sky News.

“We had a meeting with the chief economist of DCMS after that [report was published]”, He added. “She said she recognized the numbers and they were very close to internal DCMS estimates, which she never shared with us, obviously.”

A DCMS spokesperson did not dispute this when raised by Sky News.

Mr McCann added: “What this means is that, by my calculations, there is no dividend in losing our data adequacy status.

“If we could reform the laws internally and still retain their adequacy, there is potential for a dividend. than reducing compliance costs.

“The idea that this will trigger some sort of economic miracle – that the UK will suddenly become a hub of innovation – seems unlikely.

“Small tweaks to GDPR and the existing data protection regime just don’t seem like enough to accommodate the kind of unregulated market that some people say could benefit AI and big data.”

A DCMS spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

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