I've had a quick response from Layla Moran MP to my note expressing concerns about the Data Protection & Digital Information Bill, concerns, it seems she shares:
Thank you for taking the time to write to me about the Data Protection & Digital Information Bill.
There is much to be concerned about in this Bill. I spoke in the second reading debate earlier this year and raised my concerns about what this legislation will do to undermine data rights, concentrate power with the Secretary of State, further complicate our relationship with Europe, and set a worrying precedent for the future. You can read my contribution to the debate here.
I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues believe that the GDPR /Data Protection Act 2018 is not in need of fundamental reform. We do believe that parts of this Act could be made more clear, and better guidance provided. However, we fear the changes the Government is pursuing may actually increase the burden on business especially if they have to conform to both a separate UK and EU regime.
The retention of data adequacy for the purposes of digital trade with the EU is of the utmost priority in considering any changes.
Liberal Democrats are concerned about the implications of a “flexible, risk-based approach to adequacy decisions” which is not GDPR compliant and the impact this may have on international agreements as this may in turn impact data adequacy. There are already agreement discussion underway, such as those with Japan which also cause concern.
It is unclear what assessment the Government has made of the impact on data adequacy of the changes being made and of the consequences to UK business if we do not retain data adequacy.
Public trust in data use and sharing is a major issue. The Government must do more to educate the public about how and where our data is used and what powers individuals possess to find out this information. This is particularly true of health data and future contracts like the one proposed with Palantir.
Liberal Democrats are therefore supportive of enhanced powers for the Information Commissions Office (ICO) but believe that to be an effective body they must be provided with both the finance and staffing numbers to be able to carry out their job. We are concerned whether the creation of a new board will enable the ICO to maintain its current level of independence.
Thank you again for sharing your concerns with me – I will absolutely bear them in mind as I continue to take part in debates on this legislation in Parliament.
Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Oxford West & Abingdon