Social Media: Data Protection

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 15th October 2018.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to encourage social media platforms to put in place protections to prevent personal details being shared publicly without the consent of the individual concerned.

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

In May 2018, Parliament passed the Data Protection Act 2018 which, together with the General Data Protection Regulation, imposes strict obligations on data controllers, including social media platforms. Social media organisations must be clear with people how their data is going to be used and only process it where there are lawful grounds to do so. The legislation also strengthens the rights of individuals to access their own data, object to its continued use or seek to rectify, erase or move it. Organisations which fail to comply with the new legislation may be investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office and subject to increased fines. For those who commit serious breaches there are significant financial penalties including fines up to £18 million or 4% of global turnover that can be applied as well as the backstop of criminal prosecution. We worked closely with the Information Commissioner during the passage of the Bill and in the wake of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica controversy to make sure she had the powers she needed to investigate complex data breaches in our increasingly digital economy and society.

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