Compared to many other countries, the data protection landscape in the UK has a long-standing tradition of prioritizing individual rights and privacy.
This commitment was further solidified with the introduction of the Data Protection Act 1998, which aimed to regulate the processing of personal data and provided individuals with certain rights regarding the use of their information.
In response to evolving technological advancements and a need for more robust regulations, the UK updated its data protection framework in alignment with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Implemented in 2018, GDPR brought about a number of changes, enhancing the protection of individuals’ privacy rights and imposing stricter obligations on organizations handling personal data.
In essence the individual has a right:
- To know what data is being collected
- To know who is collecting the data
- To know how it will be processes and for what purpose(s)
- To know Who it will be shared with
- To access their data (including electronic)
- To right for errors to be corrected
- To request their data is erased.
The 2018 act enshrines the individuals right to an electronic copy of their data and a right to data portability, but fell short of requiring open APIs to enable the free flow of data, something that will be necessary for the UK’s Smart Data initiative.
The next significant regulatory update is anticipated to the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill which is currently going through parliament. The new bill is not a departure from the GDPR aligned Data Protection Act and will continue to meet “adequacy” requirements. While there are changes, the main aim appears to be but in clarifying and/or realigning.
“Adequacy” is the term used to determine if data protection agreements (such as between the EU and non-member states) are aligned and implement the necessary safeguards for data processing and sharing.
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