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UK plans clampdown on nuisance calls in data overhaul

UK plans clampdown on nuisance calls in data overhaul
UK plans clampdown on nuisance calls in data overhaul   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
By Reuters

LONDON – Britain said it would overhaul its data protection regulator to help strengthen economic growth and better protect the public, giving authorities scope to impose tougher penalties and fines for nuisance calls and text messages.

The changes to the remit of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) follow the selection of New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards as the preferred candidate to be Britain’s new information commissioner, the government said.

Britain said last month it would reform data protection following its departure from the European Union, taking what it termed a “common sense” approach that could help it strike technological partnerships with the United States and other countries.

The shift in strategy, however, is being watched closely by the EU https://www.reuters.com/technology/uk-pursuing-data-partnerships-with-us-others-2021-08-26, which has recognised Britain’s existing data protection standards as complying with its own.

The consultation will set out plans for tougher penalties and fines for nuisance calls and text messages, overseen by the ICO, the government said.

It will also examine what more can be done to mitigate algorithmic bias – a term for the unintended consequences of automated decision making – the government said.

One example cited that could be deemed unfair was insurers predicting someone’s fitness levels from their purchasing habits, it said.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “These reforms will keep people’s data safe and secure, while ushering in a new golden age of growth and innovation right across the UK, as we build back better from the pandemic.”