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Data Protection and Digital Information Bill falls ahead of the UK General Election

With the Prime Minister calling a General Election for July 4 2024 the UK Parliament enters a period of ‘wash-up’ to resolve all uncompleted legislation.  

Any legislation that does not complete its passage by the end of the ‘wash-up’ on 24 May will fall and would need to be reintroduced in the next Parliament.  

The Data Protection and Digital Information (DPDI) Bill was not completed by the end of the ‘wash-up’ and therefore falls.  

Our understanding is that a failure to agree a way forward between members of the House of Lords on controversial late amendments added by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is what caused the Bill to fall.  

These amendments facilitated data sharing between the DWP and private companies, mainly banks, with the aim to prevent fraud. However, the amendments attracted controversy and were widely opposed in the House of Lords.  

techUK did not support these amendments as they did not form part of the consultation process around the Bill. They were added at a very late stage with limited industry consultation.  

The DPDI Bill was an important evolution of the UK’s data protection framework and held a wide range of opportunities.  

These included making the UK a more attractive place for the research, development and deployment of AI technology, establishing new frameworks for Smart Data and Digital ID and granting the UK the flexibility needed to adapt to a rapidly changing global trade environment.  

The fall of the DPDI Bill is therefore disappointing, particularly given there was broad support in Parliament for the wider reforms it introduced. 

The UK tech industry will be frustrated at the failure of the Bill to pass, particularly given the extensive consultation on the Bill that had taken place. Following the election, it will now be the responsibility of the next Government to resume these reforms.  

Whichever Political Party wins the election should not make this a missed opportunity. Instead, they should build on the good progress made in this Bill by seeking to create a pro-innovation and high standard data protection regime for the UK.  

This should also include enabling smart data and digital ID schemes, allowing us all to better manage our data and interact with public services. 

In light of this, techUK is preparing a position paper to the next Government that will set out our views on the DPDI Bill clauses that should be revived, and will include some further policy proposals. 

We will be seeking member input on what these exact provisions might look like and will be scheduling member feedback sessions shortly. Members should get in contact with audre.verseckaite@techuk.org  

You can find techUK’s full view of the DPDI Bill on our website here. For further information on the General Election and the ‘wash-up’ process please visit our General Election hub

Channel website: http://www.techuk.org/

Original article link: https://www.techuk.org/resource/data-protection-and-digital-information-bill-falls-ahead-of-the-uk-general-election.html

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