National Data Strategy – Law Society response

The proposals

We've responded to the National Data Strategy. The strategy sets out a series of pillars and concepts to address how the benefits of public data in the UK can be unlocked.

Our view

We found the proposed strategy did not describe:

  • the need for robust governance frameworks
  • how such frameworks will be able to accommodate different and at times conflicting regulatory obligations
  • how different regulatory bodies, or data trust holders, will be engaged to identify the components of compliance
  • how the risk of deanonymisation and likelihood of reidentification will be dealt with before data is made accessible

Several stakeholders have called for the UK government to establish a public repository of information sharing agreements. It is our view that, without this mechanism, a lack of transparency impacts public trust and the sustainability and success of the National Data Strategy.

We described the divergent approaches of the US and EU for dealing with data flows in free trade agreements as well as where disputes should be heard in the event of a dispute arising from free trade agreements dealing with data flows.

What this means for solicitors

Making the legal services sector and justice system more accessible will drive productivity growth in the economy during the recovery.

Open government data is one of the ways in which the legal services sector in the UK can grow. By encouraging the use, reuse and free distribution of datasets, governments could promote business creation and innovative, citizen-centric services, with due adherence to the necessary safeguards, trust and accountability.

Next steps

We look forward to working with the ICO to ensure that the national data strategy is sustainable and takes into account unique characteristics of the legal services sector and broader justice ecosystem.

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