Government requests evidence over EU data protection legislation changes

Lord McNally, the UK’s justice minister, is seeking confirmation that the changes that are set to be made to the data protection legislation forged by the European Union are progressive and effective.

The purpose of this investigation is to help formulate arguments that can be put by representatives in the UK during the reassessment of the Data Protection Directive created by the EU three months ago.

At present, there are fears that the language used in the UK’s Data Protection Act can be confused, particularly in relation to the terms which describe the various parties involved in a particular data relationship.

The term “personal data” requires further clarification in some opinions and many are uncertain that data from the UK that is passed on to international locations is being treated with sufficient care and security.

There was recent controversy when the EU renewed its agreement to pass financial data onto the US government as part of its Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. This was a measure which looked to have initial opposition, with even the European Data Protection Supervisor questioning its necessity, although the move eventually secured the backing of the UK government, which could dictate its role in the current reform to EU data protection law.

A deadline of October 6th has been set by Lord McNally in order to gather all of the advice and expert opinion on the subject and this will run concurrently with an investigation into how well the Data Protection Act is currently serving the British public and protecting the private data of individuals.

Lord McNally spoke about the uneasy relationship between convenience and privacy that exists in the digital age, with many businesses taking advantage of enhanced tools that streamline operation whilst making it easier for data to be used inappropriately. He believes that, properly legislated and balanced, there is a lot to gain.

Data protection formed by the EU some 20 years ago is still being relied upon and, as such, it is seen as utterly outdated in the modern world.

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