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Data protection professionals vote resoundingly against new UK data protection bill

In March 2023, the UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology (DIST) introduced the Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill to UK Parliament. Intended as an update to the current UK GDPR, it seeks to drive innovation and help organisations reduce costs and administrative burdens.

DIST states that the bill will introduce a simple, clear and business-friendly framework that will not be difficult or costly to implement. It will take the best elements of GDPR and provide businesses with more flexibility around how they comply with the new data laws.

This may be the government’s ambition for the bill, but it is not a sentiment shared by data protection and privacy professionals.

In the latest UK Data Protection Index survey results, an established panel of 582 UK privacy professionals have voted overwhelmingly against the stated benefits of the proposed UK Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill.

The UK DP Index panel has expressed a resoundingly negative view of all aspects of the stated benefits of the bill and disagrees with the assertions that the bill will simplify privacy administration and benefit individuals’ rights.

When asked whether the UK should deviate from the current data protection law, 86% of the panel said we should not be diverging from the EU GDPR.

Only 9% of respondents thought the new bill was a step forward, with an overwhelming 91% thinking otherwise.

A negative response was also given by 94% of the panel when asked whether the new bill would simplify privacy management for their organisations.

Regarding financial savings, one of the key objectives of the proposed bill, 75% of DPO respondents said they did not think any cost reductions would be generated by the proposed changes.

In terms of data subjects (that’s you and I) and our best interests – one of the most important factors and the primary objective of privacy law – a staggering 92% of the DPO panel believe the new UK privacy bill will not benefit data subjects.

Rob Masson, CEO of The DPO Centre said, “The DP Index results this quarter are fascinating and utterly damning of the new UK data protection bill.

“With results also showing the highest ever DPO confidence levels in organisations’ privacy compliance, a big question is do we want to damage this confidence and create further confusion by changing the regime? Something the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology needs to be asking themselves. Perhaps they should start listening to the professionals on the ground, who will be responsible for implementing the proposed changes and ensuring their organisations remain compliant with both UK and EU legislation separately.”

The UK DP Index was launched in 2020 by The DPO Centre and Data Protection World Forum. It provides quarterly published results, based on a survey conducted among a panel of senior data protection industry experts. It is the biggest survey of its kind and includes the professional opinions of data protection officers (DPOs) working in a wide range of organisation sizes, locations, and sectors across the UK.

Full details of the UK Data Protection Index Report, with statistics on the key findings, can be found here.

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