Britons could gain greater control over what happens to their personal information under a new data protection bill outlined by the government.
Citizens will be able to request the “right to be forgotten” — the removal of their online personal data, or information they posted when they were children.
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More than 80 percent of people feel that they do not have complete control over their data online, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The proposals are part of an overhaul of UK data protection laws drafted by Matt Hancock, the Conservative MP for West Suffolk and the UK’s digital minister.
“The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world,” Hancock said in a statement.
“It will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit,” he added.
The country’s data protection watchdog will also be able to fine companies up to £17m or four percent of their global turnover if they fail to comply with the new laws.
Currently, firms can be fined a maximum of £500,000 for breaking data protection laws.
Among other new requirements, firms will be forced to obtain “explicit” consent when they process sensitive personal data.
Tom Thackray, the CBI’s innovation director, said:
This legislation strikes the right balance in improving standards of protection while still enabling businesses to explore new products and services.
The bill is intended to transfer the European Union’s current General Data Protection Regulation into UK law.
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Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s information commissioner, said:
We are pleased the government recognises the importance of data protection, its central role in increasing trust and confidence in the digital economy and the benefits the enhanced protections will bring to the public.
The government will publish its “statement of intent” on the bill on Monday.
It is expected that the bill will then be introduced to parliament before the end of this year.
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