As the UK lockdown eases, friends and relatives are reuniting, shops are once again welcoming customers, and beer gardens are full of chatter. With GDP down almost 10% in 2020 and many businesses still on their knees as a result of the emergency measures, the Government is keen to ensure that the current momentum continues and the exit from lockdown is irreversible. One method the UK administration – and others around the world – are considering is the introduction of time-limited COVID-status certification to help reopen the economy and society, reduce restrictions on social contact, and improve safety.
The dust has not yet settled on the Information Commissioner’s fine imposed on British Airways (BA) in October 2020, but the company now faces the largest group claim over a data breach in the UK’s history. A similar claim has been brought against TalkTalk following a 2014/15 cyber-attack on the telecoms giant, though in that case far fewer people were affected. With not only hefty regulatory fines and reputational damage but also the threat of expensive civil litigation for data breaches, the pressure is on for data controllers and processors to check they are doing enough to protect their customers personal data.
BCL partners Michael Drury and Julian Hayes have contributed the chapter titled ‘UK-US Data Sharing Treaty – a welcome recognition of reality’ as part of Privacy Laws & Business‘ Data Protection & Privacy Information International report.
The Government has published its long-awaited response to its Online Harms consultation. Confirming the intention to impose a duty of care to keep users safe online, the Secretary of State told Parliament online platforms “will no longer be able to mark their own homework”.
“We want the UK….to be the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business”. With this ambitious aim, the Government has laid out its National Data Strategy, focusing on unlocking the value of data, establishing a pro-growth data protection regime, and championing international data flows to promote economic development. Already a feted success, the UK’s digital sector now stands behind only the US and China in global venture capital funding and directly employs more than 1.5 million people in London and other major UK cities. Despite its laudable aspiration, however, the Data Strategy signals post-Brexit regulatory intentions which risk inhibiting and choking off the future growth of this successful UK industrial sector.