Changes to UK Data Protection Law

If you run a business then you will probably be aware that the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force on 25th May 2018.
The provisions of the GDPR will remain in force after the UK leaves the European Union. For businesses that trade internationally, it is useful to know that UK and EU approaches to data protection will continue to be aligned after Brexit takes place in 2019.
Employers who process certain categories of personal data (including data relating to criminal convictions) will need to prepare an ‘appropriate policy document’ which must be updated regularly and made available to the ICO if requested. In practice, employers who introduce and maintain a GDPR-compliant data privacy notice are likely to satisfy these additional requirements.
The new law will mean that data subject’s rights are greatly expanded under the GDPR. However, employers will be able to charge a fee to a data subject whose request is “manifestly unfounded and excessive” - or they could even refuse to respond altogether.
This poses the question of whether companies might rely on the “manifestly unfounded and excessive” exemption in order to avoid giving information when it is requested. Watch this space!
In addition, the new law will create several new offences for any data controllers found to be altering, destroying or concealing information when responding to subject access requests. However, it will continue to be possible for companies to withhold information based on one (or more) of the following:
  • Legal privilege
  • Management planning information
  • Confidential references
  • Information about the business during negotiations with an employee

All organisations (no matter how small) that keep customer data must make themselves aware of these new regulations. The Government bill for these regulations is currently going through Parliament, and there may be some last-minute changes to the information we have given above. We will update readers of this blog next year when more details are available.

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