The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published its Statement of Intent on the UK's planned reforms for a new Data Protection Bill. This statement outlines the Government's proposals for the UK's data protection framework and reflects the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This Bill will repeal and replace the UK's Data Protection Act 1998 and will implement the EU requirements under the GDPR.

Contrary to recent press coverage it appears that the UK will be taking a cautious approach to implementing the GDPR and departing as little as possible from the current UK Data Protection Act 1998. The majority of the proposals within the statement form part of the GDPR that will come into force on 25 May 2018.

The statement outlines how the UK will be approaching the areas within the GDPR where national derogation is permitted. The UK will:

  • lower the digital age of consent to 13 (the youngest age allowed under the GDPR);
  • preserve and extend the right to process personal data regarding criminal convictions and offences;
  • provide a right for individuals not to be subject to a decision evaluating personal aspects which is decided by way of a purely automated process;
  • maintain the journalistic exemption for personal data which are processed for special purposes and with a view to publication that is in the public interest; and
  • ensure that research organisations and archiving services will not have to comply with certain aspects of data protection law where to do so would seriously impair or prevent them from fulfilling their purposes.

Interestingly, the new Bill will create new offences regarding data protection. For example, it will be an offence to knowingly handle/process data intentionally/recklessly with the view to re-identify individuals from data that has been anonymised or pseudonymised. It will also be an offence to alter records with the intent of preventing disclosure to an individual who has requested access to his/her data.