Data Protection Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 14th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Digital) 3:30 pm, 14th May 2018

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his explanation. In many ways, when these clauses came to the House we missed a trick; I do not think we quite understood at the time that the Information Commissioner did not have adequate powers. It was rather a sorry sight to see the Information Commissioner hanging around for several days outside Cambridge Analytica waiting to be allowed to enter and inspect, so these amendments are extremely welcome—as, of course, is the new criminal offence the Minister mentioned.

I will say one thing: it is not entirely clear whether these powers are on all fours with, for instance, the Competitions and Markets Authority, Ofcom, Ofgem, and so on, in terms of the ability to make a dawn raid. I have looked at it but it is not entirely clear that that is possible. Clearly, in the current circumstances, the misuse of data is an extremely important aspect. It would be very interesting to hear from the Minister whether at the end of the day these are modelled on the other regulators. Does the Information Commissioner have very similar powers, and is a dawn raid available to her? Given that there are safeguards in the Bill—a warrant from the High Court and so on—that would be desirable. We have discovered that it is important for the Information Commissioner, as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to have all the powers necessary.