Baroness Lane-Fox: 'Data Protection Bill is too complex'

DataIQ News

Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, the co-founder of and former UK government "digital champion", has added her voice to growing concerns that the UK Data Protection Bill - designed to transfer GDPR into British law - is simply too complex for most people to understand.

Speaking at the second reading of the UK Data Protection House Bill in the House of Lords, Fox-Lane echoed the fear of civil liberties group Privacy International which earler this week described the Bill as “unnecessarily complex”.

Lane-Fox admitted that she found the Bill “incredibly hard to read and even harder to understand".

She added: “I fear that we will not do enough to stop the notion, referred to by the noble Lord, Lord McNally, that we are sleepwalking into a dystopian future if we do not work hard to simplify the Bill and make it accessible to more people, the people to whom I feel sure the government must want to give power in this updated legislation.”

Introducing the Bill, Lord Ashton of Hyde, claimed the legislation “will empower people to take control of their data, support UK businesses and organisations through the change, ensure that the UK is prepared for the future after we have left the EU".

He claimed it will “protect personal data processed by our intelligence agencies. We live in a time of heightened and unprecedented terrorist threat… The intelligence services already comply with robust data-handling obligations and, under the new Investigatory Powers Act, are subject to careful oversight".

Meanwhile Lord Stevenson of Balmacara called for a “far more ambitious set of regulatory structures" for what he branded "data capitalism".

He said: “The big tech companies have for far too long got away with the conceit that they are simply neutral platforms. They are not; they are active media and information companies, and their stock market valuations are based on the data flows they generate and how they can be monetised. With that role surely should come broader societal responsibilities, but the Bill does not go into this area at all.”