Dorries unveils plan to hit nuisance phone callers with huge fines

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The Culture Secretary says a data Bill to help firms save £1billion in a decade by slashing Brussels red tape will also beef up laws against abuse of personal information. It will skyrocket fines for nuisance calls, text messages and other breaches from a maximum of £500,000 to the highest of either four per cent of global turnover or £17.5million. And there will be fewer irritating internet pop-ups – the boxes that flash across screens asking for data consent – on every website.

Critics say it will lead to more costly mistakes with people’s personal data. But Ms Dorries says the bureaucracy is weighing down businesses and must change. She will tell the Commons today: “If we were still in the EU, we’d have to keep following the current approach. Thanks to Brexit, we don’t.

“This data Bill is one of Brexit’s biggest rewards. It allows us to create a pro-growth, trusted system – one that is designed not for Brussels, but for the people of the UK.”

Small businesses have struggled to cope after four years of complex one-size-fits-all General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules. Regardless of the risk of a data leak, they are forced to follow the same rules as bigger firms, such as having to employ a data protection officer.

Under the Bill, organisations must have the same high data protection standards, but will be given more flexibility about how they meet them.

Ms Dorries will add: “We can’t afford to stick with the status quo, to keep prioritising process over results, and allowing unnecessary bureaucracy to stifle growth and innovation.

“With this Bill, we will build a new, independent data regime. One that with a number of common-sense changes, frees up our businesses and unlocks scientific and economic growth, while maintaining our high data protection standards.

“I believe changes are needed more than ever today, at a time of unprecedented pressure on the economy.”

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