Back in September 2021, the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport launched a public consultation on its planned reform of UK data protection law. Researchers within HCC have formulated a response to this consultation.

Our response highlights certain concerns found within the consultation that touch on the core issues of data protection and privacy, responsible research, and balancing support for organisations as well as individuals. The major themes of our response cover the following topics:

  • Data intermediaries and institutions: Lack of clarity regarding data intermediaries, institutions, and practices put in place to safeguard individuals and support technological growth.
  • AI and responsible innovation: The opportunities for AI innovation in the UK depend on a robust regulatory regime that encourages highly context-specific risk management. This will be best promoted through maintaining existing measures like Data Protection Impact Assessments, Data Protection Officers, record keeping, and prior consultation, amongst others.
  • Erosion of trust in online tracking: Excessive box-ticking in the form of consent banners is not a necessary feature of existing data protection and privacy law, but rather a symptom of non-compliance with it.
  • Removal of the balancing test: The removal of the balancing test for pre-approved legitimate interest purposes will create disproportionate risks for UK citizens, and a false sense of certainty for controllers.

In our response, we provide recommendations and suggestions on these themes and statements, intended to help build a sustainable future of AI and data protection within the UK that not only promotes innovation but also advocates for and protects individuals.