Government to introduce UK version of GDPR

UK government touts benefits of new Data Protection and Digital Information Bill

Posted 8 March 2023 by Christine Horton

The UK government is today launching a new UK version of GDPR, the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill.

It claims the new bill will “reduce costs and burdens for British businesses and charities, remove barriers to international trade and cut the number of repetitive data collection pop-ups online.”

In a statement it also says that a strengthened data regime will save UK economy more than £4 billion over the next 10 years and ensure that privacy and data protection are securely protected.

Data-driven trade generated 85 percent of the UK’s total service exports and contributed an estimated £259 billion for the economy in 2021. 

Introduced in the House of Commons in July 2022, the bill (formerly known as the Data Reform Bill) was scheduled to have its second reading in the House following the election of Liz Truss as UK prime minister. However, the government announced a pause to allow Ministers further time to consider.

The government says the post-Brexit bill takes “the best elements of GDPR” and provides businesses with more flexibility about how they comply with the new data laws.

This will result in £4.7 billion in savings for the UK economy over the next 10 years and “maintain the UK’s internationally renowned data protection standards so businesses can continue to trade freely with global partners, including the EU.”

“Co-designed with business from the start, this new Bill ensures that a vitally important data protection regime is tailored to the UK’s own needs and our customs,” said Science, Innovation and Technology secretary Michelle Donelan.

“Our system will be easier to understand, easier to comply with, and take advantage of the many opportunities of post-Brexit Britain. No longer will our businesses and citizens have to tangle themselves around the barrier-based European GDPR.”

“Our new laws release British businesses from unnecessary red tape to unlock new discoveries, drive forward next generation technologies, create jobs and boost our economy.”

Framework for digital verification

The Bill will establish a framework for the use of trusted and secure digital verification services. This will allow customers to create certified digital identities that make it easier and quicker for people to prove things about themselves.

Additionally the Bill will increase fines for nuisance calls and texts to be either up to four percent of global turnover or £17.5 million, whichever is greater, and aims to reduce the number of consent pop-ups people see online, which allow websites to collect data about an individual’s visit. 

The Bill will also strengthen the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) through the creation of a statutory board with a chair and chief executive, so it can remain a world-leading, independent data regulator and better support organisations to comply with data regulation.