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BCS responds to the Government’s ‘Statement of Intent’ for its new Data Protection Bill

8 August 2017 - Responding to the Government’s ‘Statement of Intent’ for the new Data Protection Bill, set to be introduced to Parliament after the summer, James Davies, personal data policy manager at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: “While a lot of questions remain around how some of these proposals will work in practice, this Statement of Intent’s focus on creating more consumer trust in the data economy is very welcome. This trust must ultimately come from consumers feeling that they control who has access to their information. This will develop as consumer understanding of the value of data increases.


“The public’s current level of understanding over who has access to their data, and what it is being used for is generally low, with many people largely unaware how much of their personal information they are giving away each time they use online products or services. Many of the proposed new measures, such as the need for explicit consent to be gained from the consumer, and the expanded ‘right to be forgotten’, will help to raise the public level of understanding, and are therefore a welcome step.


“An informed public discussion over many of the subjects in the upcoming Bill is timely and welcome. So much could be achieved with the effective sharing of data - from improved consumer services to advances in medical treatments - but this can only happen when individuals understand both the risks and benefits of sharing their data. Armed with that information, they can make an informed choice over their own data enough that they are willing to consciously share it.


“Clearly, an environment in which an informed public can consciously and happily choose to share their information with government and organisations in exchange for improved services or products would be beneficial for society as whole.”