MPs demand criminal penalties for the most serious data protection breaches | DMA

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MPs demand criminal penalties for the most serious data protection breaches


The Science and Technology Select Committee of MPs has been investigating the data economy and considering the opportunities and risks, specifically how government can support businesses and encourage growth but also protect consumers from harm.

The DMA submitted a written response to the original consultation and was then asked to give oral evidence to the committee. DMA Group CEO, Chris Combemale, rose to the challenge and gave evidence to the committee last November. You can view his evidence session here.

In its fourth report, the committee wants the UK Government to go further than the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will dramatically increase fines for the data protection breaches and bring in criminal sanctions. The committee believe that current sanctions have not been an effective deterrence to rogue marketers. Criminal sanctions will focus the minds of business leaders and ensure data protection policy is treated with upmost importance, they say. The DMA supports criminal penalties for the most egregious data protection policy breaches.

Mr Combemale mentioned DMA research ‘Data privacy – what the consumer really thinks 2015’ during his evidence session, which was then cited in this report.

The report reads: “The Direct Marketing Association found that 60% of people were “happy with the amount of personal information that they shared with companies”, and 47% considered that “the exchange of personal data is essential for the smooth running of modern society”.”

This evidence showed that consumers accepted how important data was to economy but did not mean that they were necessarily happy with the status quo. The report goes on to say that citizens feel that they have lost control of their personal data.

Mr Combemale spoke about these issues in a recent speech in the House of Lords. The IPM event, hosted by IPM President, The Lord Black of Brentwood, focussed on data protection and privacy issues, and the recent EU agreement reached on the GDPR text.

He spoke about how the imbalance between the importance of data to the economy and how the loss of control consumers felt was unworkable in the long-term. Brands that engender trust and are open and transparent with their customers will thrive. Consumers should be empowered and not kept in the dark.

Remember: If you want to learn more about data protection and privacy then book a place at Data Protection 2016.

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