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UK set to ditch cookie banners in GDPR shake-up

31 August 2021

The government is expected to get rid of some website cookies rules as it promises to scrap key parts of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in 2018.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden is expected to announce data regulation reforms which he has said will cut costs for businesses, boost innovation and drive growth, opportunities and jobs. In an interview with The Telegraph, he said the plans include getting rid of cookie pop-ups for most websites (with some exceptions), many of which he said were "pointless".

"There's an awful lot of needless bureaucracy and box ticking and actually we should be looking at how we can focus on protecting people's privacy but in as light a touch way as possible," he said.

Oliver Dowden has announced that John Edwards is the government's preferred candidate to be the next Information Commissioner. Edwards, who is currently the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner, is expected to shake up current data regulations and the government has said he would "go beyond the regulator's traditional role".

John Edwards said: "I look forward to the challenge of steering the organisation and the British economy into a position of international leadership in the safe and trusted use of data for the benefit of all."

The government has also said it will make new "data adequacy" partnerships that will make it easier for businesses to send people's personal data internationally. Data adequacy is about agreeing that data protections are similar in two countries so that personal information remains safe. The UK currently has a data adequacy agreement with the EU but that could change if UK data laws diverge too far from EU rules.

According to the government, billions of pounds worth of trade goes unrealised around the world due to barriers associated with data transfers. "Now that we have left the EU I'm determined to seize the opportunity by developing a world-leading data policy that will deliver a Brexit dividend for individuals and businesses across the UK," said Oliver Dowden. "It means reforming our own data laws so that they're based on common sense, not box-ticking."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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