As a technology business you’d expect us to believe that technology is generally a force for good. Of course we do, however those organisations that host and have access to your data should not be able to access it or use it without your clear and explicit consent. Free speech, privacy, and the right to say what happens with your data should typically take precedence over the agendas of corporations.
The newly published National Data Strategy is being championed by Dominic Cummings – which in itself would be enough for me to decide it’s a bad idea – seeks to undermine the high privacy standards set by GDPR and find an “adequate” privacy standard as opposed to a “great” one. GDPR is now recognised to be a gold standard in privacy, anything else is a step backwards. The GDPR is sufficient to allow an appropriate level of data sharing while each data subject maintains a say on how that data us used. No adjustments are necessary or desirable and moving away from GDPR will risk a threat from commercial opportunities resulting in a reduction of data privacy.
My own MP, George Freeman recently responded to my concern about this and wrote back: “My argument has always been clear: our data is owned by us. It should be our decision how to share it and use it. While the potential for using and sharing data is enormous, privacy and a move towards clearer personal data ownership is a fundamental right and should never be compromised. Rest assured, I will raise your concerns at the very highest levels, continue to work with parliamentary colleagues to scrutinise the new National Data Strategy and do everything I can to ensure data privacy is protected and the conversation around data ownership is properly debated and advanced.”
This is a positive view from one of our parliamentarians and we’ll be scrutinising any votes on the matter.
More recently we learned that the UK government have ignored data protection legislation by failing to produce Data Protection Impact Assessments for the Test & Trace system. The Information Commissioners Office (who are meant to deal these things) turned a blind eye and it was only when The Open Rights Group threatened a judicial review that that government started to take steps to ensure the assessments were made.
Groups like The Open Rights Group are an important factor in maintaining independent oversight on legislators that either go too far (or ignore their own legislation!) and so we’re delighted to announce that from October 2020 we’re supporting the Open Rights Group by means of corporate sponsorship. Check out the Corporate Supporters page to validate the sponsorship and see which other organisations are helping to protect the digital rights of people in the UK.