The UK Government has introduced a new Data Protection and Digital Information Bill to Parliament. The Bill replaces a previous bill published in June 2022, progress on which was was paused in September 2022. In this update we look at what has changed under the new Bill and the next steps for reform of UK data protection and ePrivacy law.
Following the UK's departure from the EU, in Autumn 2021 the UK Government carried out an extensive consultation exercise on proposed reforms of UK data protection and ePrivacy law. A response to the consultation was published in June 2022, with a bill being introduced to Parliament shortly after.
You can read our summary of the proposed reforms in this blog post.
The 2022 bill was due to have its second reading on 4 September, the day before Boris Johnson resigned as prime minister, but that was postponed. The new Secretary of State Michelle Donelan then announced at the Conservative Party conference in early October that the Government would be "replacing GDPR with our own business and consumer-friendly data protection system." It was unclear how those reforms would differ from the Bill published in July.
The new Data Protection and Digital Information Bill
We now have an answer to that question. A new Bill, the Data Protection and Digital Information (No.2) Bill (pdf), has been introduced to Parliament, restarting the legislative process.
Despite the fanfare in the Government's press release this morning, changes from the original July 2022 Bill are minimal. The key reforms remain the same. You can see the changes in this comparison that we have created comparing the two bills (pdf).
It is unclear what the Government's timescales are for the Bill.
Last month, Minister Paul Scully was quoted as saying that the Bill would not be returning this Parliamentary session. The following week, the Secretary of State revealed in an interview that the Bill would return to Parliament this week.
The Bill is substantial - over 200 pages and may take some time to work its way through Parliament. It is also possible that some of the more contentious provisions (for example the powers granted to the Secretary of State to amend legislation) may face opposition in the House of Lords.
We will keep you up to date on the Bill's progress. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss the Bill or how the proposed changes may impact on your organisation, please get in touch with Martin Sloan, Grant Campbell or Rachel Lawson.