EU Committee outlines DPDI Bill concerns to House of Lords

25/04/2024 | European Parliament

The European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) has written a letter to Lord Peter Rickets, Chair of the UK House of Lords European Affairs Committee, warning that changes to the UK data protection legislative framework proposed in the Data Protection and Digital Information (DPDI) Bill could impact the EU-UK adequacy agreement. 

The letter explains that the LIBE Committee is "closely monitoring developments in the UK, as both adequacy decisions contain sunset clauses, and thus will automatically expire four years after their entry into force." In particular, the letter focuses on changes to the definition of personal data, the independence of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), and onward transfers of personal data. 

The Libe Committee points out that: “the Bill modifies the concept of “personal data” that is at the heart of the EU data protection regime”. 

On the matter of the ICO's independence, the letter highlights the ICO's poor track record on enforcement and fears changes to its mandate "when balancing between the protection of personal data and other interests such as the UK economy, public safety or the international agenda of the UK Government prior to exercising their powers, or, having to follow priorities set by the Secretary of State" could further weaken its effectiveness. 

The Libe Committee is highly concerned about UK proposals to unilaterally declare other third countries or international organisations as providing adequate protection for personal data. This could result in bypassing EU regulations on international transfers to countries or organisations that do not meet EU standards.

In a statement commenting on the letter, Mariano delli Santi, Legal and Policy Officer for Open Rights Group, said: "Losing the adequacy agreement would be a disaster for the UK economy. As the Bill enters its final stages, the Government needs to act urgently to protect our data protection rights... The concerns of the LIBE committee highlights how the data rights of people in the UK will be reduced compared to people living in Europe. This should not be acceptable to our parliamentarians."

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