Data Protection: GDPR and Other EU Regulations

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons on 10th December 2020.

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Photo of Martyn Day Martyn Day Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Public Health and Primary Care)

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the retention of (a) the GDPR and (b) other EU regulations on data protection after the transition period.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

The general data protection regulation regime will be retained in domestic law after the transition period through the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The UK remains committed to maintaining high data protection standards now and in the future.

Photo of Martyn Day Martyn Day Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Public Health and Primary Care)

The EU has been a world leader when it comes to the protection of citizens’ digital rights. This is evidenced by the large number of countries, such as South Korea, Japan and Brazil, that sought to emulate its groundbreaking GDPR policy. As the end of the transition period looms, how will the UK Government ensure that digital rights law not only lives up to the EU’s high standards but exceeds them?

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

The hon. Gentleman is right to say that the GDPR has ensured that we have high standards and, as I say, we are absolutely committed to maintaining them. We have no intention of diverging substantially from GDPR, but obviously we will be looking to see whether there are ways in which we can improve our regime while maintaining those high standards.

Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

The independent Information Commissioner recently revealed that the Conservative party had racially and religiously profiled 10 million voters at the last election. I was shocked to learn that it did this by buying data that

“identified a person’s…ethnic origin and religion based on their first and last name.”

Can the Minister explain to the House why his party does this?

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

As I recall, the Information Commissioner examined the practices of all political parties and made comments against all of them. However, it did not find that any breaches of the law had occurred.