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UK: ICO welcomes DCMS consultation reviewing UK data regime

The Information Commissioner's Office ('ICO') released, on 7 October 2021, its response, dated 6 October 2021, with a foreword from Elizabeth Denham CBE, the UK Information Commissioner, to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport's ('DCMS') recent consultation, namely 'Data: A New Direction'. In particular, the response mostly welcomes the review of the UK data protection legal framework and regulatory regime, nevertheless noted that it is important that the Government ensures the final package of reforms clearly maintains rights for individuals, minimises burdens for business, and safeguards the independence of the ICO.

Among other things, Denham highlights, "I support the intention of the proposals to make innovation easier for organisations. I agree there are ways in which the legislation can be changed to make it simpler for companies to do the right thing when it comes to our data. Perhaps most notably, it is vital that the inevitable regulatory and administrative obligations of legal compliance are proportionate to the risk an organisation's data processing activities represent. That means finding proportionate ways for organisations to demonstrate their accountability for how they collect, store, use and share our data. They must ensure data is safe and is not used in ways that might cause harm. And they must ensure that all people are able to exercise rights over their personal data."

In addition, the response supports the proposal to introduce a more commonly-used regulatory governance model for the ICO, with a statutory supervisory board with a separate Chair and CEO. However, Denham raised concerns for certain proposals for the Secretary of State to approve ICO guidance and to appoint the CEO, and urged the Government to reconsider such proposals to preserve the independence of the ICO.

You can read the press release here and the response here.