Government data review grants more data sharing power

Government data review grants more data sharing power

Buried in the small print of the government’s response to the Data Sharing Review is a line which grants the secretary of state power “to permit or require the sharing of personal information between particular specified persons, where a robust case for so doing exists.”

Although the Information Commissioner, who wrote the report in “an independent capacity” (along with Dr Mark Walport from the Wellcome Trust), is likely to be granted some stronger powers and better funding the response also offers the government more power to over-ride existing data protection measures.

Lobby group No2ID said: “The key recommendation is 8(a), which proposes that whenever a department desires to use existing information for new purposes, ministers should have the power to make regulations to let it do so.

“They could set aside confidentiality and data-protection in the existing law or allow information that has been collected by government for one purpose to be used for a completely different one – without any new legislation or even a debate in parliament.”

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