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Huge transitions are coming to the UK and its data protection regulations in 2021 and beyond. These changes will have a significant impact on online users and marketers. We wanted to give you a quick heads up on what to expect following these recently announced changes.

What’s going on?

The government has announced that Britain will attempt a departure from the European data protection regulations (GDPR) which were established by the EU in 2018. 

The cultural secretary, Oliver Dowden, has said he wants to call for rules based on “common sense, not box-ticking”. Moving away from these existing regulations could allow the UK to chart its course and lead to an end of cookie popups and consent requests online.

The current privacy commissioner of New Zealand, John Edwards, will be overseeing this remodelling and will be replacing current information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham.  

Through the official announcement, the government said it will prioritise creating new “data adequacy” partnerships that will allow it to send people’s data internationally, to other countries such as the United States, Korea, Singapore, Dubai and Colombia.  

These changes will make for a huge transition concerning the UK’s data policies now that Brexit has been finalised.   

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation was the replacement for the EU’s 1995 Data Protection Directive. Until now, it had set the standard for processing data in the EU. GDPR introduced several rights to users including: “individuals gaining the right to demand companies reveal or delete the personal data they hold; regulators were able to work in concert across the EU for the first time and rather than having to launch separate actions in each jurisdiction; their enforcement actions had real teeth, with higher maximum fines for breaches”.

In the run up to Brexit, the UK reworked its data protection laws to mirror GDPR to avoid discord between British and European Law.

Now that we’ve officially left the EU, the government has the power to alter the rules of data privacy and protection regulations. And that is exactly what they plan to do.

From a compliance perspective, GDPR has a heavy cost for businesses. For example, GDPR entails the hiring of a data privacy officer (or assigning that role to a member of staff and adding to their existing workload). Additionally, first-party databases, partners or vendors must be audited, which, if found to be breaching the law, can lead to a risk of fines and lawsuits.  

Moving away from these regulations could be the catalyst for a change in marketing tactics for companies in the UK…

The Cookies Back in the Jar

Back in June, Google pledged not to kill third-party cookies without the UK competition Watchdog’s say so. 

According to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Google has agreed to address concerns about its plan to remove third-party cookies. This compromise follows an investigation into the Chrome Privacy Sandbox proposals made by the CMA and ICO in January.

The Ad Exchanger reported that “specifically, Google has pledged not to discriminate against its rivals in favour of its own advertising and ad tech businesses when designing or operating alternatives to third-party cookies.”

As a result of Google involving the ICO in its developments, could we now see Google reversing its decision to kill third-party cookies as a result of these changes to GDPR? Watch this space…

Privacy – us, and you.

Here at Arke, we’ve seen a lot of news throughout 2020 and 2021 about privacy transitions online. We recently discussed the changes to Apple’s emailing policies (which you can read here) that will alter the world of email marketing.

Furthermore, China has recently been in the news as their new privacy laws borrow from Europe’s GDPR. However, their laws, (known as PIPL) are much stricter, as any proposal to move data overseas must first undertake a security review by China’s data authorities.

Whilst these transitions to a more transparent and user-first approach are positive from a user perspective, it undoubtedly makes it more challenging for marketers to advertise online.

However, we’re still in the early days since these changes were announced, and the potential impact is still unknown. We’d recommend keeping an eye on this space…we’ll be updating this story as it develops.

If you’d like advice on how to gain an advantage over your competitors or how to mitigate the impact of these changes,, get in touch with our digital experts today.


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