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Current data protection laws to be overhauled and replaced with new Data Protection Bill

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Government proposals are looking to provide Britons with greater control over personal information that is currently held by companies and organisations. The bill, which the government is hoping to introduce, will make it easier to request the removal of data held, which could extend as far as a person's DNA, in a phrase termed the "right to be forgotten". Additionally, this bill although part of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, will be transferred into UK law, affecting social media sites. In a time where social media is so prominent, this could be beneficial for graduates starting their careers, as it will allow all posts that were published before they were the age of 18, to be deleted if requested.

This new bill will also provide greater levels of privacy. Instead of websites using an opt out method when it comes to visitors personal information being added to companies systems, visitors will be given the option to opt in.

According to a BBC news report, the maximum fines for breaking data protection laws that can be imposed at present is £500,000. However, the proposed bill could see fines rising up to £17m or 4% of global turnover, should there be a serious breach of these laws. With companies facing these sorts of consequences, the government believe that greater protection will be given to members of the public and help Britain stand in a better position for Brexit.

Despite the apparent benefits of these new laws, there are fears that many firms are not fully aware of how to avoid facing fines and what these laws mean, and greater information needs to be provided, particular to smaller firms.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.