The government has published the Digital Economy Act ("Act"), which received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017. The Act aims to improve internet connectivity and provide improved protections for internet users.

The Act has the following relevant data protection implications:

  • Part 5 (Digital Government) contains seven chapters and includes measures intended to improve the delivery of services and sharing of personal data with specified public authorities. As recommended by the ICO, additional safeguards have been built in as public authorities sharing data under the Act will have to take into consideration the ICO's codes of practice on privacy impact assessments and privacy notices. In addition, any codes of practice issued in relation to the disclosure and use of data will need to be consistent with the ICO's data sharing code of practice.
  • Section 96 of Part 6 (Direct marketing code) requires the ICO to prepare a direct marketing activities code of practice which complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations 2003 (PECR).
  • Section 108 of Part 6 (Charges payable to the Information Commissioner) indicates that the government is working on an alternative funding model for the ICO based on fees from data controllers.

Organisations should keep a watching brief on the ICO Direct Marketing Code.

The Act can be accessed here.