At the prompting of the Open Rights Group, I've written to my MP, Layla Moran of the Lib Dems about the proposed Data Protection & Digital Information Bill.
Dear Layla Moran,
I have significant concerns about the proposed Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, popularly known as the Data Grab Bill.
The Bill dilutes our privacy rights and hands more power to government bodies and corporations. We'll be vulnerable to our data being used against us and less able to do anything about it.
The Data Grab Bill will:
- Make it easier to refuse subject access requests
- Increase automated decision-making with even less oversight than now
- Expand exemptions for data sharing, use and reuse
- Increase political interference with and undermine the independence of the ICO
- Remove the need to carry out data protection impact assessments
- Create new powers to approve and ease international data transfers to countries without compatible laws or safeguarding procedures for data protection rights, i.e. powers fundamentally incompatible with the General Data Protection Regulation
Government and corporations have, for too long, been treating people as industrial raw material to be exploited for politics, power and profit. This data grab bill is another step in facilitating that concentration of power and wealth whilst undermining fundamental rights of UK residents and citizens.
The situation posed by the Bill is even more critical for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The unconscionable immigration exemption provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 have already been found to be unlawful by UK courts. Rather than putting in place compliant legislation to address the courts' concerns, the government is seeking to circumvent them and further dilute migrants' data protection rights.
Just one example is that the Bill could leave vulnerable migrants at risk of having their personal information shared with countries with inadequate data protection laws and limited legal recourse, exposing them to potential harm. The Bill will, also, remove any requirements to consult with people affected by high-risk data processing, exposing them to potential harm without proper safeguarding procedures, in addition to weakening the ICO’s role to hold public or commercial organisations to account for any data breaches or violations.
The Home Office gets the power to re-purpose the use of personal data for national security or public safety reasons. Data provided by asylum seekers could be used in ways they neither expected nor consented to, such as being shared with their home country’s authorities, from whom they may have fled in fear, without a thorough assessment of the risks involved.
I hope and expect you and your Lib Dem colleagues share these concerns and will oppose the most damaging, fundamental rights threatening provisions of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill in parliament.Yours sincerely,