FEATURE11 February 2021

The dawn of a new era? Britain, Europe and data

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Covid-19 Features GDPR Impact Legal Privacy

Camilla Ravazzolo, data and privacy counsel at MRS, explores the new National Data Strategy.

In September 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) published the UK National Data Strategy. It is a large-scale document with a very straightforward objective: to reflect the opportunities and challenges of our new hyper-digital world, weigh the priorities and potential trade-offs of data in a deliberate and evidence-based way, and, above all, drive growth in the UK economy and power its recovery from Covid-19.

Secretary of state Oliver Dowden sets an important framework for the publication in his foreword: when he became digital secretary, he vowed to be “unashamedly pro-tech” (his words, not mine. I would be asking questions such as: “Pro-tech, as opposed to what? Pro-analogue? What do you see as the antithesis of pro-tech? Pro-privacy and data protection? Pro-competition and antitrust?”). He sees the strategy as seeking to maintain the high watermark of data use set during the pandemic, and to free up businesses and organisations to keep using data to innovate, experiment and ...