The proposed Bills are:
A “Bill of Rights” to “address the balance of power between legislature and the courts.”
The Government has announced that one aim of this Bill is “[d]efending freedom of speech by promoting greater confidence in society to express views freely, thereby enhancing public debate”.
In practice commentary has suggested this may amount to the right to Freedom of Expression being given greater weight over an individual’s right to Privacy. Under the current Human Rights Act 1998, each of the many fundamental human rights are held equal.
A Media Bill - OFCOM regulation for Streaming Services
Popular streaming services reaching UK consumers are set for new regulation by OFCOM, and will have to abide by the rules on Accuracy, Fairness, Privacy and Harm which currently apply to traditional Broadcasters, via a 'Video-on-Demand Code'.
As part of this the Government has announced that it intends to repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, passed by Parliament which made provision for publishers to join an approved regulator following the findings of Lord Leveson’s report on Media behaviour. Section 40 has however never been commenced.
The Online Harms Bill
This large and wide-reaching Bill is carried over from the last Parliament, and contains many new rules intended to limit harm, abuse, and misinformation on online services.
A Data Reform Bill
The Queen’s speech included a statement that the “United Kingdom’s Data Protection Regime will be reformed.” This is in line with previous indications to that effect from the Government, and briefing notes claim that its purpose is “reducing the burdens [of current legislation]” on UK businesses to allow for innovation, and “enabling data to be shared more efficiently between public bodies”.
Any reform in this area may impact on UK companies’ ability to share data internationally, particularly with the EU. This is because any substantive divergence from retained EU GDPR legislation may affect the “EU GDPR adequacy decision” currently allowing those data transfers.
Further information on these Bills and their progress through Parliament is expected soon.
You can read the Queen’s Speech 2022 Briefing Note here.