Government confirms UK will opt in to GDPR in May 2018

The Secretary of State Karen Bradley MP confirmed to the Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee on 24 October 2016 that the UK will be implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018. However, it remains unclear what amendments may be made to data protection laws once the UK has left the EU. The best advice for businesses is to get ready for compliance with the GDPR until, as the Secretary of State said, the government looks “later at how best we might be able to help British business with data protection while maintaining high levels of protection for members of the public”. 

The Information Commissioner, Ms Elizabeth Denham, recognised this as good news for the UK, and an acknowledgement of the importance of the digital economy, both in the UK and around the world. The implementation of the GDPR gives “people greater control over their data”, which the Information Commissioner said “has to be a good thing”. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will support businesses and public bodies in preparing for compliance with the GDPR’s requirements before May 2018, and has already started with the 12-step checklist and the updated privacy notices code of practice. The ICO will publish a revised timetable setting out its priorities for the publication of guidance over the next six months. 

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