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UK: Tech Minister unveils new UK Digital Strategy

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport ('DCMS'), announced, on 13 June 2022, that the Tech Minister, Chris Philp, unveiled the new UK Digital Strategy at London Tech Week, aiming to grow the economy and create more high-skilled and high wage jobs by cementing the UK as a global tech superpower. In particular, the strategy focuses on six key areas, i.e. digital foundations, ideas and intellectual property, digital skills and talent, financing digital growth, spreading prosperity and levelling up, and enhancing the UK's place in the world. With respect to the 'digital foundations' area of focus, the policy paper outlines that the Government is rolling out world-class digital infrastructure across the UK to unlock the power of data, mission one of the National Data Strategy by using the freedoms conferred by Brexit to implement a light-touch, pro-growth regulatory regime which would lead to regulatory competitive advantages in areas such as AI, data, and digital competition. Specifically, the policy paper sets out commitments including:

  • introducing of primary legislation to reform the UK's data protection laws, by simplifying some parts of the UK General Data Protection Regulation ('UK GDPR') to ensure high standards of data protection, highlighting that the UK Government's view is that this reform of UK legislation on personal data is compatible with maintaining the free flow of personal data from Europe;
  • adopting a more flexible, outcomes-based approach for compliance, ensuring that the Information Commissioner's Office ('ICO') accounts for the increasing importance of its remit for competition, innovation, and economic growth; and
  • legislating for Smart Data to provide consumers and small businesses with the power to enable trusted third parties to help them access, make sense of, and use their data, noting the recent development of the Business Secretary to set out a new programme of investments in Smart Data to drive industry and collaboration across sectors.

Furthermore, the policy paper outlines the recent developments on enhancing the security of the tech sector, including a call for views on app security and privacy interventions, and developments on shaping international data governance and international data flows, including the announcement of ten priority countries for UK data adequacy partnerships and the launch of the International Data Transfer Expert Council. Finally, the policy paper notes the progress made on supporting net zero, including the Government's £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio to accelerate the commercialisation of low-carbon technologies, systems, and business models in power, buildings, and industry.

You can read the press releases here and here, and the policy paper here.