Manifestos and Data Protection: what lies beneath?

At last, something interesting to read about in the Manifestos of the ‘Big Three’ (with apologies to SNP, UKIP , Plaid Cymru etc).

The Lib Dems manifesto promises to “Roll back state surveillance powers by ending the indiscriminate bulk collection of communications data, bulk hacking, and the collection of internet connection records”. Presumably what this means is a repeal, or significant rewriting, of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. The Lib Dems are also promising to “Introduce a digital bill of rights that protects people’s powers over their own information, supports individuals over large corporations, and preserves the neutrality of the internet.” Err… like the GDPR?

The Labour manifesto say that “Labour is committed to growing the digital economy and ensuring that trade agreements do not impede cross-border data flows, whilst maintaining strong data protection rules to protect personal privacy.” This may be code for “we will also implement the GDPR”.

The Conservatives (aka the Teresa May Party) manifesto have a short section dedicated to the “digital age”. In the key bullet points of that section, the following are can be found: “Protections for people’s data online, backed by a new data protection law (our emphasis) and later:

  • We will bring forward a new data protection law (there it is again!) fit for our new data age, to ensure the very best standards for the safe, flexible and dynamic use of data and enshrining our global leadership in the ethical and proportionate regulation of data”.

This could mean simply that when the UK leaves the EU a new British ‘version’ of the GDPR will replace it. However, other parts of the manifesto suggests a possible much more wide-ranging proposal for data and internet regulation…

Which of these options will the great British public choose?



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