UK data reform aims to boost innovation, economic growth

This can help deliver more agile, effective and efficient public services and further strengthen the UK’s position as a science and technology superpower, it said…reports Asian Lite News.

Under planned reforms announced by the Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is set for an overhaul to drive greater innovation and growth in the UK’s data sector and better protect the public from major data threats.

One year on from the publication of the National Data Strategy, the government on Thursday launched a wide-ranging consultation on proposed changes to the UK’s data landscape.

As part of this, a new governance model is planned for the ICO, including an independent board and chief executive to mirror the governance structures of other regulators such as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Ofcom.

This follows the selection of John Edwards as the government’s preferred candidate as the new Information Commissioner, who is currently serving as the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner.

The government said it wants to remove unnecessary barriers to responsible data use. This can help deliver more agile, effective and efficient public services and further strengthen the UK’s position as a science and technology superpower, it said.

A recent example is researchers from Moorfields Eye Hospital and the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology making a breakthrough in patient care using AI technology. The researchers successfully trained machine learning technology on thousands of historic de-personalised eye scans to identify signs of eye disease and recommend how patients should be referred for care.

This new way of using data has the potential to revolutionise the way professionals carry out eye tests. The government’s data reforms will provide clarity around the rules for the use of personal data for research purposes, laying the groundwork for more scientific and medical breakthroughs.

“Data is one of the most important resources in the world and we want our laws to be based on common sense, not box-ticking,” Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said. “Now that we have left the EU, we have the freedom to create a new world-leading data regime that unleashes the power of data across the economy and society.”

“These reforms will keep people’s data safe and secure, while ushering in a new golden age of growth and innovation right across the UK, as we build back better from the pandemic,” he added.

The protection of people’s personal data will be at the heart of the planned data reform. Far from being a barrier to innovation or trade, regulatory certainty and high data protection standards allow businesses and consumers to thrive.

The consultation sets out plans to impose tougher penalties and fines for nuisance calls and text messages. These sanctions would be overseen by the ICO and build on government action in recent years that has included holding individual directors liable for nuisance calls made by their respective companies.

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