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UK Data Privacy Likely to Need Urgent Protection after Election, say Experts

As the Election fast approaches, many working with the technology and data protection sector are calling for the new Government to consider urgently improving the UK’s data privacy protections, with many high profile breaches over the last few years.

Only yesterday, Simon Bain, CEO and founder at OmniIndex told UK Tech News that the UK Electoral Commission suffered a data breach in 2023, and raised concerns that the extra data to be collected from voter ID tomorrow may not be adequately protected.  He told us:

“While much has been said of the legislation’s impact on the public’s ability to exercise its democratic right, there are larger issues at play concerning the protection of what is highly sensitive and private data. The government holds an immense volume of data on the general public, and frankly, it is doing very little to protect it from being stolen.”

Erin Nicholson, Global Head of Data Protection and Privacy at Thoughtworks explains why tackling data protection in the UK must be an urgent priority for the new administration:

 “Our data-driven world thrives on personal data, creating a need for a comprehensive legal framework for privacy. A strong data privacy regime isn’t just about technicalities; it’s about building trust, security, and a society where everyone benefits.

“The UK’s current system is failing. Frequent regulatory changes burden businesses without offering clear advantages for the public. The newly elected government needed to enforce a reboot: a stable, internationally aligned system that empowers individuals.

“The focus should be twofold: compliance and empowerment. 

“Clear, consistent guidance alongside well-defined international standards will propel us in responsible AI development. Existing data protection laws need stronger enforcement across the board. We also need to empower more data sharing, with Singapore’s model that offers valuable lessons for optimising data flows to safeguard vulnerable populations.

“Equipping businesses, particularly smaller ones, is crucial. Robust technical guidance on data minimisation, anonymisation, and mitigating bias in AI systems will empower them and foster responsible AI practices.

“The public needs to be equipped as well. Integrating data privacy and security education into school curriculums will foster a more informed public. A data-literate public embraces responsible AI development. By prioritising clear communication and education, we can alleviate anxieties and ensure data privacy is understood, not feared.

“This approach strikes the balance: fostering innovation while keeping individuals’ data secure. It’s all about clear communication, strong enforcement, and empowering everyone involved.”