On 9 September, the UK Government published a National Data Strategy which places data at the core of the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK Government aims to ensure that companies and organisations can use data to drive digital transformation and innovation and boost growth across the UK economy. This new strategy comes after the UK Government recently announced that the responsibility for the UK Government’s use of data has transferred from the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport to the Cabinet Office.
The National Data Strategy outlines five plans of action to capitalise on the opportunities data offers. These include:
1. Unlocking the value of data across the economy: plans to make data more accessible to businesses and other organisations and encourage better coordination between the public and private sectors, whilst ensuring the appropriate protections are in place for international data transfers.
2. Securing a pro-growth regime: plans to secure a regime which includes regulation of the digital and technology landscape, as well as data protection laws.
3. Transforming government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services: plans to change the way the UK Government uses data to boost digital innovation by hiring a Government Chief of Data Officer.
4. Ensuring the security and resilience of the infrastructure on which data relies: plans to ensure that all data in the UK and all data transfers are handled securely in order to reduce cyber threats.
5. Encouraging the international exchange of data: plans to cooperate with other countries to align data standards following the UK’s departure from the EU, and pursue an adequacy decision from the European Commission. The European Commission has the power to determine whether a country outside the EU offers an adequate level of data protection. The effect of this decision for the UK would be that personal data can flow from the EU to the UK without any further safeguard for international data transfer (as set out in the General Data Protection Regulation) being put in place.