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UK Government launches consultation on proposed changes to the data landscape

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On 9 September 2021, the UK’s Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden, announced a series of reforms to drive innovation and growth in the UK’s data sector. The Government clarifies that one of the key objectives of the reforms is removing unnecessary barriers to responsible data use, while maintaining high data protection standards.

The proposed changes include a new data protection regime “based on common sense, not box ticking”, an overhaul of the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) governance model, and plans to impose tougher sanctions for nuisance calls and text messages.

The consultation, launched a year after the publication of the National Data Strategy, will also examine how to mitigate algorithmic bias.  Reforms are expected to help ensure that organisations can better understand and mitigate the risk of bias in their algorithmic systems and take steps to make sure their services are not inadvertently biased or replicating societal and historic discrimination, or drawing unfair inferences.

The government also appointed a new team of specialists to the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation’s (CDEI) advisory board, which advises policymakers on AI and data-driven technology governance.

The consultation is open until 19 November 2021.

The press release is available here. The consultation document is available here.

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