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UK Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner role survives as DPDI fails

Data protection bill doomed by election call
Categories Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes
UK Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner role survives as DPDI fails

UK parliament will not pass data protection legislation during the current session, following the announcement of the general election in the United Kingdom. The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (DPDI) was abandoned following a period of uncertainty surrounding the future of pending legislation. The government has now entered the “wash-up” period, in which final bills are considered for passage before the dissolution of Parliament. The DPDI did not make the cut.

The elimination of the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner role is now on hold. The bill would have transferred some, but not all responsibilities for biometrics regulation to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which the Ada Lovelace Institute called “concerning.”

The tech community was divided between support for and opposition to the bill.

Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, stressed the importance of passing specific bills, such as the Data Protection and Digital Identity Bill, the Law Gazette reports.

“We are clearly waiting to see what legislation is able to get passed over the course of the next week before Parliament is dissolved, but from a Conveyancing Association perspective there would be a priority ‘wish list’ if you like in terms of those bills currently going through,” says Rudolf. Passing the DPDI would help “get rid of both cyber scams and fraud in property transactions with digital ID and enabling digital signatures linked to digitally-verified ID.”

Even the technology and media sector in the UK is actively supporting the smooth passage of the DPDI and the Media Bill. The DPDI aims to update current data protection laws, specifically the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Yoti CEO and Co-founder Robin Tombs was among tech industry leaders expressing hope for the parts pertaining to digital ID to be reintroduced in the next session.

Chris Combemale, representing the Data and Marketing Association, said while the DPDI’s fate was uncertain that after extensive consultations over three years, aspects of the bill have received broad support. Combemale urged the government to prioritize the passage of the DPDI.

“The government must make passing DPDI its number one priority in the next few days. After three years of consultation many aspects of the Bill have support across the political spectrum. We urge the government to make the necessary compromises on controversial issues to ensure the Bill passes before the election,” Combemale told City A.M.

With files from Abhishek Jadhav

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