Data Protection and Digital Information Bill

JUSTICE has briefed Parliament on several discrete issues within the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill.

Firstly, JUSTICE has briefed on automated decision-making. Clause 14 of the Bill repeals the right not to be subject to solely automated decision making and profiling, replacing it with more permissive provisions. JUSTICE does not consider the new provisions adequate to protect individuals from automated harm, since they instead allow harm to occur, and put the onus on the individual to complain (see our briefing on Clause 14 below). In addition to opposing Clause 14, JUSTICE supports further amendments which insert proactive duties on the public sector to use automated decision systems in a safe, responsible and transparent way – see in addition our joint briefing with Public Law Project below.

Secondly, JUSTICE has briefed on national security exemptions at Clauses 28-30. These clauses apply to law enforcement when they are processing the data of victims, suspects and witnesses, and would allow far broader exemptions from data protection laws on the basis of national security, including most of the fundamental data principles. JUSTICE does not dispute the legitimacy of national security exemptions for law enforcement. However we do encourage probing of clauses 28-30 to ensure they are a proportionate interference with the protection of victims’, suspects’ and witnesses’ data – see our briefing below.

Thirdly, JUSTICE has briefed against Clause 128 and Schedule 11, which introduce new powers for the Department for Work and Pensions to obtain extensive bank account information from anyone receiving state benefits and related accounts, without any requirement for suspicion of fraud or error. JUSTICE considers the privacy infringement to be excessive and disproportionate, we have significant concerns that the provisions unjustifiably discriminate against those with disabilities, and we also raise objections to the process (the provisions were added at House of Commons Report Stage, meaning the Public Bill Committee did not have the opportunity to hear evidence on them nor debate them). JUSTICE has signed the Big Brother Watch coalition open letter against the clauses, as well as briefing Peers.

Clause 14 Briefing
JUSTICE and PLP joint briefing on decision-making amendments
Clauses 28-30 National Security Briefing

Briefing on Clause 128 and Schedule 11: Power to Require Information for Social Security Purposes