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General Election 2017: Party Manifestos on Data Protection

26 May 2017 #Employment

Given the growing importance of data protection to our everyday life, it is unsurprising that the issue is mentioned in the manifestos for the upcoming General Election (for a look at the wider employment and immigration aspects of the manifestos see our earlier blog here).  Below is a summary of the main parties’ proposals relating to data protection.


The Conservative manifesto has the most material on data protection issues. Under a section entitled “Prosperity and Security in a Digital Age” the Conservatives make a number of proposals on data protection:

  • A new data protection law to protect people’s data online and ensure the safe, flexible and dynamic use of data.
  • Roll out digitised government and public services to use data and digital technology for school choice, local services, planning and social care.
  • New rules for the digital economy through domestic regulation and international partnership with a new international agreement.
  • To create a “Verify” platform so individuals can identify themselves online across government services by 2020, which will be extended to non-government services such as banking.
  • Create a strategy to rationalise the use of personal data within government by reducing data duplication.
  • Greater enforcement through an expert Data Use and Ethics Commission to advise Parliament and a National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care to be put on a statutory footing to enforce data security standards.

The manifesto also proposed developing a new digital charter, creating a framework to give people new rights to ensure they are in control of their own data and able to access and export personal data. This will be underpinned by a legal framework with sanctions to ensure digital companies, social media platforms and content providers adhere to the principles of the charter once finalised.


Labour’s manifesto is in 12 parts, with some of these touching on data protection. As part of negotiating Brexit and new trade agreements, Labour pledge to “grow the digital economy and ensure that trade agreements do not impede cross-border data flows, whilst maintaining strong data protection rules to protect personal privacy.” Labour also pledge to ensure that young people understand and are able to easily remove content they shared on the internet before they were 18.

L I B E R A L   D E M O C R A T S

The Liberal Democrat’s manifesto is in nine sections and under a section entitled “Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities” they pledge to:

  • Roll back state surveillance, by ending bulk indiscriminate collection of communications and internet records.
  • Introduce a digital bill of rights that protects people’s powers over their own information, supports individuals over large corporations and preserves the neutrality of the internet.
  • Oppose any Conservative rights to undermine encryption.

With the EU General Data Protection Regulations due to come into effect next year (25 May 2018), reform of data protection is certain. Clarkslegal are running a “Getting to Grips with Data Protection” series of webinars, starting next month (19 June) with a free webinar to address the key principles of data protection. Sign up is free and can be found here.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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