Our Data Futures

Influencing UK data policy

Over the next year the UK government will be looking at how it replaces GDPR following Brexit, through the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill. At the same time all the major political parties will be developing their manifestos in the run up to the next General Election, scheduled for 2024 if not before.

We think this means there is a unique opportunity to influence the democratic and participatory governance of data, to ensure it works for us all, as part of the UK’s post-GDPR future.

However, we are also clear that there are real risks that future changes or possible policy directions could do the opposite: reducing individual citizens’ control and influence; removing transparency and key safeguards; limiting opportunities for engagement and ignoring evidence about the collective and equality impacts of data processing and AI.

That’s why for the next 12 months we will be focusing on campaigning to make sure communities get a powerful say in how the data that affects them is collected and used now and in the future by influencing this legislation to:

  • ensure risk assessments, balancing tests, the design of codes of conduct factor in collective, societal, equality and environmental impacts
  • protect the rights of the direct, indirect and group subjects of automated decision making
  • increase democratic accountability on data decisions through better transparency, greater participation, and collective complaint and redress mechanism

We’ll also be working to bring together a group of diverse friends and partners to create an even stronger voice for change - including organisations from across data, tech and civil society, as well as the communities who are directly affected themselves.

Alongside this we’ll be connecting with MPs, Lords, advisors and civil servants to support them to better understand the issues involved and ensure they are informed and able to speak up, so data is both collectively and democratically governed in all our interests.

We are particularly grateful to the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust for their generous help and support for this work.