PLP Briefing DPDI Bill Report Stage

This week the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill has its report stage and third reading in the House of Commons.

PLP has briefed MPs that the Bill will weaken important data protection rights and safeguards, reducing transparency and putting individuals at greater risk of unfairness and discrimination.

Automation and AI are playing a more and more significant role in how government makes decisions and carries out its functions, from education to healthcare, to immigration and welfare. Data protection laws are currently some of the most powerful tools available to protect individuals against unfair uses of data and technology, and to enable people to find out how their data is being used and how decisions about them are made.

This Bill will weaken some of those vital data protection laws.

Our briefing focuses on:

  • Clause 8 would give public authorities and other bodies wider scope to refuse subject access requests, making it more difficult for people to find out what information about them is being held and how it is being used. Clause 8 should be removed from the Bill.
  • Clause 12 would ‘flip’ the presumption against automated decision-making, so that in some cases where it is currently unlawful to use solely automated decision-making, it would be permitted. Clause 12 should be amended so that it does not weaken existing protections around automated decision-making.
  • Clause 18 would water down requirements to carry out a proper impact assessment. This means that in many cases, bodies and authorities processing data will not have to fully consider whether the processing is necessary and proportional. Clause 18 should be removed from the Bill.
  • The Bill gives the Secretary of State broad powers to amend our data protection laws via statutory instrument, without adequate scrutiny by Parliament. The wide powers given to the Secretary of State in Clauses 5, 6, 12 and 114 should be removed or narrowed.