8 August 2017

Lawrence Jones With Digital Minister Matt Hancock at UKFast Campus discussing the government's future data plans for digital,

With Digital Minister Matt Hancock at UKFast Campus discussing the government’s future plans for digital and data.

The government is to introduce a new Data Protection Bill. As we move closer to Brexit it’s a real opportunity for the UK to become a leader in data.

Having met Digital Minister Matt Hancock earlier this year, I was hopeful that he and the government would follow through on their promises of strong data protection laws. Particularly in line with the GDPR as we move closer to leaving the European Union.

The opportunity is truly arising for the country to establish itself even further as a leading player in data analytics, data centres and global data processing services. When you look at it objectively we’re in a strong position already. We hold the highest privacy standards, but we need to keep that up after we leave the EU.

Ultimately businesses are built on confidence. Confidence in suppliers, in each other and in the economy. Brexit has already caused an extraordinary amount of uncertainty in the economy. The last thing we need is confidence to fall in our abilities as tech leaders. We have always championed our strengths at protecting data in the UK, despite the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ introduction. It’s something we should continue to set the example for.

Strong regulations are key

Strong regulations like the Data Protection Bill help us to build that confidence and to trade in the valuable currency of data. That’s essential when you consider that, really, data is the new oil when it comes to economic value. However, that opportunity will only be realised if we maintain the same standards of legislation and data protection, whilst inspiring the same level of confidence in potential partners across the globe. We need to ensure that the right safeguards are in place once we leave the EU to maintain and strengthen our position. It’s that simple.

We are winning significant amounts of business from our giant American competitors. That’s simply because we are held to higher standards on data regulation than the US. People trust that standard. To see that the government are reinforcing this with the new bill is a huge signpost to the rest of the world: Brexit or not we’re a global power.

I am doing everything in my power to lobby the government to guarantee that our new standards are at least equal to the incoming EU regulation.

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