Public sector bodies must appoint data protection officer under new data regulations, UK Government announces

Written by Sam Trendall on 11 August 2017 in News

The DCMS has published a statement of intent for its Data Protection Bill ahead of GDPR coming into force next year

Data - Image credit: Janet McKnight via Flickr

Public sector bodies must appoint a data protection officer or face sanctions including multi-million pound fines under new data regulations, the UK Government has announced.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a ‘statement of intent’ outlining the proposals of the UK Government’s Data Protection Bill.

The bill contains plans to effectively sign into law the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as well as introduce additional measures designed to protect UK citizens and businesses’ data.


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One of the GDPR’s key measures for public bodies is to require them to employ a designated data protection officer.

Organisations must also conduct impact assessments and notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of any data breaches affecting citizens within 72 hours of their occurrence.

Failure to comply with these measures could see public and private sector organisations hit with one of a range of new sanctions afforded to the ICO, up to a maximum fine of £17m or 20 per cent of global turnover, whichever figure is the greater.

UK digital minister Matt Hancock said: “Our measures are designed to support businesses in their use of data, and give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account.

“The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world.

He added: “The bill will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit.

“We have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive.”

Other measures introduced in the bill include giving citizens the right to request that social media platforms delete their personal information.

The bill also contains proposals to making sites requiring consumers to opt-out of data being held “a thing of the past”, the UK Government said.

Under GDPR consent must be clearly given for personal data to be used, for example, to be added to a mailing list. It cannot simply be the default.

GDPR comes into force across EU member states in May 2018.

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