The news over the weekend of the recent bank holiday in England and Wales might have seemed exciting to anyone in email marketing, with the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, calling for new data regulations based on “common sense, not box-ticking”. At last, the promise of a Brexit bonus after all.
The announcement of the new policy comes as John Edwards, the current privacy Commissioner of New Zealand, is announced as the governors’ preferred candidate to replace Elizabeth Denham. Her, slightly extended, term comes to an end on 31 October. Her tenure has been unspectacular, and she has built on the solid base she was left when she took over. I’m not sure if there have been any criticisms of her, but there has been praise. She might well be missed.
Coming close on the heels of the agreement by the EU to classify the UK as ‘adequate’ with regards to data transfers between the UK and the EU, you might be wondering what changes can be made. If you are, you are not alone as any significant alteration runs the risk of causing data transfers to be frozen.
The current GDPR rules, brought in by the EU in 2018, are embedded in UK law under the Data Protection Act since Brexit. They provide a stable situation in which companies relying on email marketing and data transfers can plan without running the risk of them becoming outdated. One way of limiting costs is to limit change.
What is meant by the government prioritising “innovative and responsible uses of data” is unspecified, and a little confusing. That’s what the GDPR is there for. While we all support Dowden’s intent to “boost growth, especially for start-ups and small firms”, it seems that care will be needed with regards to any changes that might upset our EU neighbours.
It could be nothing more than pressure on John Edwards. Phrases such as ‘no nonsense’ and ‘pragmatism’ might be little more than a way of telling the potential new incumbent what will be required. What email marketing does not need are problems transferring data to the EU.