The last time Britain wrote its data protection laws, in 1998, was six years before the invention of Facebook. There was no Instagram, Deliveroo or Uber, no smartphones or apps, no online banking or check-in or loan applications. Google was in its infancy, with no maps, YouTube or Gmail. Cloud computing, as we understand it, was a novelty. In signing up to these services, and others, British consumers have given their friends, colleagues, companies and the government vast amounts of information about their private lives. They, in turn, have shared that data with third parties, often without our knowledge. Later this year, the government will introduce the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation into UK law as the Data Protection Bill, promising to tilt the balance of power over who controls personal data towards the consumer. The EU regulations come into force in May 2018. With potentially huge fines for non-compliance — £17m or up to 4% of global annual turnover in the most ser...

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