Sunday, 5 February 2017

Data sharing provisions criticised in Digital Economy Bill

"A House of Lords Committee has heavily criticised the data sharing provisions in Part V of the Digital Economy Bill; it has reported that the provisions should not be supported in their current form."

The Report confirms Amberhawk`s blog comments that the data sharing provisions (e.g. for efficient public sector service delivery, for research and statistics, for debt recovery and for fraud) are untrammelled. Namely the provisions:
"combined with the flexibility for Ministers to add to the list of data sharing objectives, provides a gateway that could allow future Governments to share personal data across the public sector by Ministerial edict without reference to Parliament; "
"could replace many existing data sharing legislative provisions and negate the need for data sharing provisions in future legislation."

"The following quotes (in italics) from the Report [should be] enough to convince you that that these provisions are seriously deficient:"

"We infer that at least some of the clauses in Part 5 are intended to supersede existing and more specific information-sharing gateways"

"We observe that those provisions are drafted in very general terms, and would appear to permit any purpose connected with the provision of a public service to be prescribed as a `specified objective`."

"The provisions of the Government’s draft regulations would allow for large scale disclosures of confidential personal information from one `specified person` to another."

"For example, the DWP would have power to disclose social security information on a bulk basis to all local authorities, and/or the police, and/or schools, with a view to allowing the recipients to match this against data that they already hold to facilitate the identification of individuals facing multiple disadvantages..."

"We are also deeply concerned about the power to prescribe as a `specified person` a person `providing services to a public authority` (see clause 30(3)(b)). ….This means that any person with whom one of those authorities chooses to contract for the provision of services connected with the `specified objective` would then become entitled to disclose and receive information under this gateway for the purpose of that objective. This applies whether the service provider concerned is in the public sector or is a charity or a commercial organisation." (Report’s emphasis)

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1 comment:

  1. reblogged , robert asks can you phone him cheers