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  • New plans for a GDPR replacement have divided UK technology

New plans for a GDPR replacement have divided UK technology

The UK has finally unveiled plans for GDPR’s replacement: the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (DPDIB). The bill, introduced in parliament last week, aims to boost economic growth while protecting privacy.

The proposed rules pledge to reduce paperwork, reduce costs, promote commerce and (please, Lord) reduce cookie pop-ups. They also controversially claim to deliver savings of over £4bn over 10 years (more on that later).

The shadow of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU looms large over the plans. In its pitch for the bill, the government promises to release an elusive Brexit dividend.

“Our system will be easier to understand, easier to comply with and to take advantage of the many opportunities of Britain after Brexit,” Technology Minister Michelle Donelan said in a statement. “Our businesses and citizens no longer need to get caught up in the barrier-based European GDPR.”

At least that’s the plan, but it’s already proven divisive.

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Data-driven trading is a huge contributor to the UK’s treasury. In 2021, it generated an estimated £259 billion and 85% of UK service exports.

The DPDIB provides further benefits of simplified regulatory requirements.

“Our new laws free UK businesses from unnecessary red tape to unlock new discoveries, drive next-generation technologies, create jobs and boost our economy,” said Donelan.

All data regulations must strike a balance between protecting people and promoting innovation. Under the GDPR, many companies became frustrated with the bureaucratic burden. The DPDIB aims to tip the scales back to business benefits.

“It was essential to clear up confusion and simplify administrative burden.

Chris Combemale, CEO of the Data and Marketing Association (DMA), worked with the government on the new rules. He expects the bill to be “a catalyst for innovation” while maintaining the privacy protections necessary for consumer confidence.

“It was essential for the bill to protect key ethical principles of existing laws while clarifying ambiguities and simplifying heavy administrative burdens for small businesses,” Combemale tells TNW via email.

The lighter regulatory pressure is proving popular. Companies have welcomed the simplified version supplies for archiving, processing of personal data and automated decision-making as the ability to decline requests to access data that are “annoying or excessive.” There is also a lot of praise for the new framework for digital IDs, additional resources for the UK’s data watchdog, and increased fines for nuisance calling and texting.

Chris Vaughan van Taniuman endpoint security company, says the new rules are simpler than the GDPR.

“A major benefit of the new law is the reduction in operating costs that the GDPR brings – which is even more welcome as organizations continue to struggle in the current economic landscape,” Vaughan tells TNW.

However, relaxing rules can also increase risks.

Privacy hazards

Critics warn that the new laws will put citizens at risk. More than 30 civil society groups have called for the bill to be scrapped over concerns that it will weaken data protection and harm marginalized groups.

Colin Hayhurst van Mojeeka privacybased search engine, particularly suffers from the reduced liability for “low risk” data processing. He also worries that the bill addresses too many complex issues at once.

“My concern is that critical issues around innovations like AI just don’t get enough attention or get enough attention,” says Hayhurst. “It is worth noting that the EU considers AI regulation to be such a complex and important subject a completely separate invoice dedicated to the cause.”

Hayhurst is particularly struck by the implications for AI in research. The new bill gives commercial organizations the same freedoms as academics for any data processing for research “which can reasonably be described as scientific”.

This can create great opportunities for companies building AI with data collection. But it could give even more power to big companies with research arms, like Google’s DeepMind and Meta’s FAIR.

“Large technology companies with research groups can continue to collect and use whatever personal data they have to train AI in their research activities,” says Hayhurst. “All of this comes with risks; and unfortunately, this risk will largely be borne by those whose data is fed into the machine, rather than by the companies themselves.

16928752317_2e39f492da_k_Sundar Pichai by Maurizio Pesce