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UK Data Reform Bill and AI Regulation

UK Data Reform Bill and AI regulations: to encourage innovation and increase public trust in the technology.

UK Data Reform Bill and AI Regulation

The UK government revealed a pair of post-Brexit data reform measures to promote responsible data usage and economic innovation on Monday (July 18th).

The government announced the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill in the House of Commons. According to a statement from Minister for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman, the data protection reform bill will,

change the UK’s independent data laws.

The government is releasing a series of proposals to control the use of artificial intelligence at the same time as the new legislation. The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport released a press statement that read, 

“The Bill will seize the benefits of Brexit to keep a high standard of protection for people’s privacy and personal data while delivering around (1 billion pounds) in savings for businesses.”

Data Reform Bill 

The proposal was described in detail by Warman, who claimed that it would save businesses “around 1 billion (pounds) over ten years.” In addition to requiring telecom companies to notify the UK Information Commissioner’s Office if unwanted communications are occurring on their networks, the bill would increase fines for non-compliant nuisance calls and texts.

The Data Reform Bill is divided into six sections: 
  1. data protection; 
  2. digital verification services; 
  3. customer data and business data; 
  4. provisions about digital information; 
  5. regulation and oversight; and 
  6. final provisions.

When browser-based or comparable solutions are sufficiently developed, the reform will also “pave the way for the removal of irritating banners for other types of cookies,” according to Warman. Requirements for cookie banner popups for “low-risk activities, such as audience measurement.” are also included.

The proposal also calls for reforming digital identities, which would “give people more security and choice when they want to prove things about themselves online or via apps instead of with physical documents.

The bill would also loosen some restrictions on using personal data for scientific purposes providing scientists the clarity and confidence they need to move on with “life-improving” and “life-saving” research.

The bill would regulate how elected officials and politicians use data and how it is shared with national security and law enforcement agencies. “They will provide agencies clarity on their obligations, boosting the public’s confidence in how their data is being used,” said Warman.

Following public feedback from a year ago, the UK released details of its proposed Data Reform Bill. The future of the UK’s adequacy agreement with the EU has been on everyone’s mind with the proposed changes to its data protection legislation.

“The EU does not require countries to have the same rules to grant adequacy,” 

Warman also added in the release on July 18th that “it is our belief that these reforms are compatible with maintaining a free flow of personal data from the European Economic Area.

Artificial intelligence (AI) regulation

The UK government released a proposal for different laws and guidelines for AI and machine learning. The latest AI plans are a part of its national AI strategy.

The six guiding principles of the AI proposal are to ensure that technology is: 
  • used safely;
  • technically secure as intended; 
  • transparent and understandable; 
  • takes into account fairness, identifies “a legal person to be responsible for AI,”; and 
  • makes clear the avenues for redress.

What does this mean for me? 

This bill is still being discussed and is not yet in force, so there’s nothing you need to do right now. As always, we will keep our eye on the latest updates and ensure that all of our solutions are in line with the latest requirements to help you stay compliant. 

Since this conversation is ongoing, the UK government welcomes public feedback. If you’re interested in participating in these changes, you can read some of the questions the policy paper has opened below.

  1. What are the most important challenges with our existing approach to regulating AI? Do you have views on the most important gaps, overlaps, or contradictions?
  2. Do you agree with the context-driven approach delivered through the UK’s established regulators set out in this paper? What do you see as the benefits of this approach? What are the disadvantages?
  3. Do you agree that we should establish a set of cross-sectoral principles to guide our overall approach? Do the proposed cross-sectoral principles cover the common issues and risks posed by AI technologies? What, if anything, is missing?
  4. Do you have any early views on how we best implement our approach? In your view, what are some of the key practical considerations? What will the regulatory system need to deliver on our approach? How can we best streamline and coordinate guidance on AI from regulators?
  5. Do you anticipate any challenges for businesses operating across multiple jurisdictions? Do you have any early views on how our approach could help support cross-border trade and international cooperation in the most effective way?
  6. Are you aware of any robust data sources to support monitoring the effectiveness of our approach, both at an individual regulator and system level?

The 10-week request for evidence is open and closes on September 26th. The UK government has provided this contact for you to send your views: evidence@officeforai.gov.uk

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