As we step into 2024, the landscape of data protection is evolving, presenting new challenges and opportunities for businesses in the UK. With the upcoming Data Protection and Digital Information Bill on the horizon, it’s crucial for organisations to stay abreast of the latest developments and prioritise robust data protection measures. In this blog, we’ll explore the key considerations that UK businesses should focus on in 2024 to ensure compliance, protect customer trust, and navigate the ever-changing data protection landscape.
Data Protection and Digital Information Bill 2024
The most significant development on the horizon is the introduction of the new Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, currently before the committee in the House of Lords. As businesses eagerly await its enactment, it’s imperative to closely monitor the legislative changes it brings. These include but aren’t limited to:
- Amended definition of ‘Personal Data’
- Changes to the rules regarding Records of Processing Activities
- Changes to rules around Data Protection Impact Assessments
- Defining excessive Subject Access Requests
- Additional duties to the Information Commissioners Office
These changes are likely to impact most organisations in the UK that process personal data. Staying informed as to when this Bill comes into force will indicate when your internal policies require a review. Utilise this handy webpage to keep up-to-date with the Bill’s progress.
AI and Machine Learning Governance
The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies continues to accelerate, presenting both opportunities and challenges. UK businesses must prioritise responsible AI practices to mitigate the risks associated with automated decision-making processes. Particularly with the introduction of the ISO/IEC 42001 standard for AI management, ensuring transparency, fairness, and accountability in AI algorithms will be key considerations for data protection compliance in 2024.
It is important for organisations to stay informed about the introduction of regulation and standards that set out compliance expectations for the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools. While the UK is not subject to the regulations coming down the line in the EU, it is likely that the regulations will be held as the gold standard by many, with clients and suppliers expecting the organisations they work with to meet these requirements regardless of location.
Enhanced Cyber Security Measures
With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated, businesses need to strengthen their technical controls. Investing in advanced cyber security technologies, conducting regular risk assessments, and implementing robust incident response plans will be crucial for protecting sensitive data. As remote work becomes a permanent feature for many organisations, securing remote access and data transmission channels should be a top priority.
The UK GDPR puts the obligation on organisations to ensure that personal data must be protected with an appropriate level of security. The security measures in place must protect against accidental or deliberate harm, loss, or dissemination of the data. Organisations need to routinely review their security measures and ensure that they are up to date and effective.
Data Minimisation and Purpose Limitation
The principles of data minimisation and purpose limitation are fundamental to GDPR compliance, and they will continue to be emphasised in 2024. Businesses should review and refine their data collection practices, ensuring that they only collect the minimum necessary data for a specific purpose.
Alongside reviewing data collection to ensure data minimisation, organisations should review the privacy information they provide to data subjects, and their retention periods for the data they do collect. Clear communication with individuals about the purposes, and time periods, of data processing will enhance transparency and build trust.
International Data Transfers
Brexit has introduced new considerations for international data transfers. UK businesses need to be mindful of data transfer restrictions and compliance with international data protection standards. Compliance with the rules for transferring personal data outside the UK can be complicated, and the March 2024 deadline for ‘old EU SCCs’ is fast approaching, potentially leaving many organisations with out of date, non-compliant contractual arrangements. Assessing the adequacy of data protection measures in destination countries, implementing standard contractual clauses, or relying on other legal mechanisms will continue to be vital to facilitate smooth data flows across borders.
- Identify existing contracts that involve the transfer of personal data outside of the UK and which rely on the ‘old EU SCCs’
- Assess the scale of the projects and the most appropriate alternative to achieve compliance
- Where necessary, carry out a transfer risk assessment (TRA). This is a requirement when entering a contract based on the IDTA or the UK Addendum
- Conclude new contracts or vary existing contracts to incorporate the IDTA or UK Addendum.
Consumer Privacy Rights
Consumer awareness regarding privacy rights is growing, and individuals are becoming more proactive in exercising their rights. Businesses should be prepared to respond to data subject access requests promptly and transparently. Clear communication about privacy policies, consent mechanisms, and the rights of individuals will contribute to building and maintaining trust with customers.
It is important for business to ensure they have processes in place for handling and responding to rights from data subjects, and that these processes work and are adhered to by all the relevant employees likely to come into contact with data subject requests.
As we navigate through 2024, data protection should remain a top priority for UK businesses. The upcoming Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, combined with the rapid advancements in technology, necessitates a proactive and adaptable approach to compliance. By staying informed about regulatory changes, investing in cyber security measures, and prioritising ethical data practices, businesses can not only ensure compliance but also build a solid foundation for trust and best practice.
Written by Isabella Gibson
Isabella Gibson is a qualified data protection practitioner and a member of the norm. data protection team. As a Data Protection Associate Isabella delivers the the Data Protection as a Service (DPaaS) Solution to norm’s widely varied client base.