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Information commissioner's powers to be enhanced in the UK

Businesses could be forced to hand over information to the UK's data protection watchdog within 24 hours under new proposed new data protection laws.01 May 2018

The UK government has tabled amendments to the Data Protection Bill which, if introduced into law, would enhance the powers currently available to the information commissioner.

The amendments, put forward by the UK's secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Matt Hancock, would shorten the time that businesses would have to respond to 'urgent' information notices served on them by the information commissioner from seven days to 24 hours, and allow the information commissioner to obtain a court order to require disclosure of the information referred to in the notice where they recipient has failed to comply with it.

In addition, the government has proposed to add a new offence to UK law which would criminalise the destruction, disposal, concealment, blocking or falsification of information and documents that the information commissioner formally requests access to when serving information or assessment notices under the planned new Bill.

The Data Protection Bill is currently before the UK parliament. It is designed to replace the existing Data Protection Act and complement the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will have direct effect in the UK and in other EU member states from 25 May.