The UK's new Data Protection Bill is to be published tomorrow, minister for digital Matt Hancock announced today in a keynote address to the UK Internet Governance Forum.  The bill, “Will bring our data protection regime into the twenty first century, giving citizens more sovereignty over their data, and greater penalties for those who break the rules,” said Hancock.

He noted how the bill formed part of a multi-billion pound National Cyber Security Strategy being spearheaded by the new National Cyber Security Centre, 

The bill and the strategywere put into the context of protecting people and business, plus their data, online.  And this was then described as part of wider aims in terms of enacting laws that enable greater freedom, by protecting us from the actions of others, with Hancock saying: “We must build an internet based on liberal and not libertarian values, where we cherish freedom yet prevent harm to others.”

In addition to clamping down on cyber-bullying and child protection, part of protecting people online was acknowledged to be protecting their data online.

“With AI and machine learning, data use is moving fast. Good use of data isn't just about complying with the regulations, it's about the ethical use of data too,” said Hancock, noting that, “good governance of data isn't just about legislation - as important as that is - it's also about establishing ethical norms and boundaries, as a society. And this is something our Digital Charter will address too.”

As the internet comes of age, it needs to acknowledge its responsibilities he said.

A second part of the Digital Charter is about ensuring a fair economic landscape online, thus the penalty for copyright infringement is to be the same online as offline, and where value is created online, it must be appropriately rewarded.

Commenting on Brexit, Hancock said: “As the UK leaves the EU we will ensure we have one of the most robust systems for protection of intellectual property anywhere in the world, for all civilised societies are based on the fair and equal protection of property rights,” noting how streaming now worked for Music,  while the news media, and high quality journalism was yet to find such a sustainable business model.

Hancock concluded: “Our task is to strike the right balance between freedoms and responsibilities online, such that the solutions can be applied globally, and the whole free world can emulate our approach. That is our plan.”