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A new data protection regime and Information Commissioner for the UK

Posted on 26 August 2021

The Government has today announced ambitious plans in relation to the UK's data protection regime, as it seeks to move to what it describes as a pro-growth and innovation-friendly regime, but which will also be underpinned by secure and trustworthy privacy standards. This includes plans to enter into 'data adequacy partnerships' with countries such as the US, Australia, the Republic of Korea, the Dubai International Finance Centre and Colombia, as well as a consultation in the 'coming weeks' on the future data protection regime. Alongside the announcement, John Edwards, currently the Privacy Commissioner for New Zealand is named (as had been predicted) as the Government's preferred candidate for Information Commissioner.  Mr Edwards will be given a mandate to focus on more than the 'traditional' remit of protecting data rights, to how data can be used to promote economic growth.

Adam Rose, Data Protection Partner at Mishcon de Reya said:

"Squaring the circle of giving citizens and consumers more control over how their data is used, while also giving business and government greater freedoms to use that data, will be the big challenge. 

Coming just a couple of months after the EU Commission granted the UK an adequacy decision in relation to its post-Brexit data protection regime – on the basis that the UK law was essentially equivalent to the EU GDPR regime – today's announcements put the UK on a collision path with the EU, but also more widely with civil society organisations, with the likelihood of serious domestic data litigation in the future."

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