Data Protection Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:37 pm on 14th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords) 6:37 pm, 14th May 2018

My Lords, the work done by the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, in joining the dots, as it were, between the original proposal and having a proper approach to children using the internet and all the other things they use, and the way they would get redress if there is a problem, has been a joy to watch. She has stuck at it like a terrier, she has not let Ministers off the hook, she has been firing off emails and phone calls from faraway places and causing their lives to be an absolute misery, but it is a good thing because we have got to where we need to be.

As the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, said, it was always a surprise that the Government did not want to include Article 18(2) as well as Article 18(1), because it completes the support for consumers of internet services, which the Bill sets out to do but for which there is a derogation and they have chosen not to exercise it. I am very glad about that, but perhaps the Minister can explain one thing that I did not quite get right in my mind as I was listening to him. The review is to check whether Article 18(2) would make it a more effective consumer measure than it is currently under the Bill as drafted—the Act, as it will be. It is not restricted to vulnerable people. The way it was expressed seemed to suggest that it would cover only other vulnerable people. In any case, children are not vulnerable: they are extremely interested, very wise and often sagacious about the internet but they are not vulnerable to it. They may well get themselves into vulnerable situations, in which case they need redress, through bodies such as child-specific agencies, but I do not think that was the intention. I would be grateful if that could be addressed.

Secondly, a moment of levity flashed through my mind when the Minister was talking about the need for the Inland Revenue to track down where reservists had got to. I cannot believe that is the only way the Ministry of Defence keeps in touch with its reserve, but I do not dissent from this being a very good measure.