UK pauses its data reform bill to focus on replacing the GDPR

UK pauses its data reform bill to focus on replacing the GDPR

The UK government has confirmed that the recently introduced data reform bill is on hold. The pause allows regulators to reconsider the bill. The news comes after prime minister Liz Truss’ budget announcement caused the pound to fall compared to the dollar.

The paused draft legislation contains a package of changes to the data protection rules in the UK, which are still heavily inspired by the European Union’s framework. The legislation tweaks rules governing data processing in areas like scientific inquiry, consent for online tracking, and data sharing in the public sector and private sector.

The government planned to nullify changes to the data regulator itself, projecting that the move could save businesses more than a billion pounds over a decade. That change is now on hold as the Truss administration reconsiders the bill.

Ditching an inherited system

Michelle Donelan, the newly appointed Secretary of State for Digital, devoted the first part of her Conservative Party conference speech on Monday to a headline-grabbing declaration that the UK would be “replacing” the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — a law that the UK had “inherited” from the European Union. In its place, Donelan said, the government will implement its own business- and consumer-friendly British data protection regime.

The government aims to remove bureaucratic EU “red tape”, which Donelan claims is to blame for current UK standards being disproportionately burdensome for small firms due to the GDPR’s “one-size-fits-all” approach. It’s worth noting that the government made similar statements prior to the now-paused data reform bill.

Donelan further stated that simplifying the UK’s data protection legislation will aid economic growth by increasing corporate profitability. According to Donelan, adopting proprietary privacy laws rather than sticking with the current set — which facilitates commerce with the EU by allowing people’s data to flow easily from the EU into the UK — won’t result in greater bureaucracy.