The United Kingdom plans to change the GDPR and privacy rules in the country. Now that the country has left the European Union, the UK wants to get rid of certain parts of privacy laws, such as cookie banners and rules for small businesses and agencies.
The plans will be unveiled by Oliver Dowden, UK Minister for Culture and Digital Affairs. He has outlined plans to address privacy legislation. According to him, the current European rules should be replaced by a British law of its own. Dowden says better data laws could become one of the biggest benefits of Brexit. He calls a review of the law ‘one of the biggest costs of leaving the EU’. Dowden believes that companies can trade more easily if they can exchange data with each other more easily.
Dowden’s plans focus on multiple aspects of the privacy law. An important aspect is the fact that the law now works in the same way for everyone. Small companies or associations must abide by the same rules as large tech companies, but according to Dowden, that system does not work. The minister is concerned that small businesses or charities are “overwhelmed” by the number of rules they have to comply with. “We cannot expect the same from a small family business as we expect from a huge social media company,” he said in an interview with the Telegraph.
Dowden also cites specific examples of where the law falls short. For example, the Church of England would no longer be allowed to approach churchgoers with newsletters because that would fall under marketing. That is not correct; under the GDPR, direct marketing is one of the bases for which data may be collected. Dowden also says that scientists can no longer perform their work properly because of the privacy law, but he does not mention any examples.
Another aspect that Dowden wants to counter is the “useless cookie banners.” He wants to stop doing that altogether, but “still maintain high standards that guarantee privacy.” He does not mention any concrete plans for the latter. Cookie notifications are not only regulated by the GDPR, but also by the ePrivacy Directive.
The plans are not final yet, but in preparation the national privacy supervisor has already been given a new boss. The watchdog is also entering “a new phase,” Dowden says. The Information Commissioner’s Office has a new objective of not only protecting data, but also ‘using it for economic growth’. The UK also wants to conclude deals with other countries regarding digital data exchange. The country wants to do that with the US, Australia, Colombia, Singapore, South Korea and Dubai. Right now, the UK would be losing billions of pounds a year by not being able to exchange data with companies in those countries, again due to strict privacy laws.