Brexit: David Williamson discusses the fallout of leaving the EU
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Sir Iain Duncan Smith’s Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) has demanded the EU’s General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR) should be overhauled as Britain left the EU. The laws came into effect in May 2018 to govern how people’s personal information and data is used, processed and stored.
The task force urged the Prime Minister to forge a fresh regime and called on ministers to bring in so-called “data trusts” that could negotiate how much personal data is shared with third parties, such as Facebook.
Individuals would be able to decide how much data they are comfortable sharing and authorisation forms could be phased out, the Telegraph reported.
However, Government insiders have accused Downing Street of not being clear on its position despite revealing plans in September to create a “pro-growth and pro-innovation” data regime.
A Government insider said: “Number 10 just is not clear on what our position is [on deregulation].
“The compass swings from long periods of inactivity to bursts of dog-whistle claims of ‘we are going to scrap all the regulation on your British banger’.
“But we ought to be able to do both.
“We should be able to have Jacob Rees-Mogg teasing the crowd with how we are going to ditch some of Brussels’ bonkers rules, while also finding ways to support new technologies.”
The then-Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden outlined reforms designed to remove GDPR’s biggest burdens to innovation and business.
Mr Dowden announced the appointment of a new Information Commissioner, former New Zealand data chief John Edwards.
Mr Edwards criticised overzealous regulations such as the EU’s cookie laws for inhibiting investment.
He said Brexit meant he was “unshackled” from the EU’s data regime which involves multiple regulators struggling to come to an agreement.
But now Mr Edwards said the “UK gets to be a little more fleet of foot”.
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He added how many businesses think data protection requirements are “non-productive”.
Mr Edwards continued: “I want to try and hear how we can reduce that.
“If we can make it easy, that improves life for business and improves life for consumers.”
A Government spokesman says: “We are working tirelessly to reform our own data rules and seize new opportunities since leaving the EU.
“Our proposed changes will protect people’s privacy while unlocking data to create an economic boost for businesses and consumers across the UK.”
The EU’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager has faced claims she is more concerned with punishing companies than serving European businesses and consumers.
Shivaun Raff, the co-founder of the British price comparison service Foundem, said: “The opportunity is that we could move faster.
“Europe is currently dragging its feet and failing to enforce Google’s compliance with its own judgments, so the CMA might have an opportunity to take the lead.
“If we don’t have a regulator that is making sure that the internet is a level playing field for the next generation of tech startups to be able to thrive and reach their full potential, then we won’t be the country with the next unicorns.”
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