Data Protection Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:30 pm on 13th November 2017.

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Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 7:30 pm, 13th November 2017

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, has raised the important issue of data ethics. I am grateful to everyone who has spoken on this issue tonight and has agreed that it is very important. I assure noble Lords that we agree with that. We had a debate the other day on this issue and I am sure we will have many more in the future. The noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, has been to see me to talk about this, and I tried to convince him then that we were taking it seriously. By the sound of it, I am not sure that I completely succeeded, but we are. We understand the points he makes, although I am possibly not as gloomy about things as he is.

We are fortunate in the UK to have the widely respected Information Commissioner to provide expert advice on data protection issues—I accept that that advice is just on data protection issues—but we recognise the need for further credible and expert advice on the broader issue of the ethical use of data. That is exactly why we committed to setting up an expert advisory data ethics body in the 2017 manifesto, which, I am glad to hear, the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, read carefully.