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EU data protection laws, UK spying law, nature laws

Current press articles concerning the law

UK firms still unaware of their obligations under the new EU data protection laws

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force in 2018, represents a major change in the way that personal data must be managed for any company that does business in or with the EU.

They will need to make sure they are able to delete all of a consumer's personal data quickly and completely from their systems on request. There will also be mandatory reporting of serious data breaches and organisations will be expected to know what data might have been affected - within 24 hours if possible. And those firms found to be in breach of the regulation face hefty fines - up to four per cent of global turnover.

To find out how well prepared organisations are for the coming changes, Computing carried out an online poll of about 100 medium-to-large organisations. The respondents all had some responsibility for their organisation's IT or regulatory compliance.

Just over half said they were aware of the GDPR but only 20 per cent were well prepared. A further 26 per cent said they have just started preparing for the regulation. However, a total of 44 per cent were unaware or only vaguely aware of the new rules.

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UK spying law would undermine tech industry

The UK's planned surveillance law is "ambiguous", "confusing" and will cause disadvantages for technology companies in the country, according to a group of MPs looking at its implications.

Members of the Science and Technology Committee raised a number issues with the Investigatory Powers Bill (IP Bill) which has been proposed by the Home Office, after it reviewed how the bill would work technically.

MP Nicola Blackwood, the chair of the committee, said it had concerns with the cost of the law, encryption, hacking and the impact on businesses.

"There are good grounds to believe that, without further refinement, there could be many unintended consequences for commerce arising from the current lack of clarity of the terms and scope of the legislation," Blackwood said.

The IP Bill, initially announced by Home Secretary Theresa May on November 4, aims to reform surveillance powers that can be used by police, security services and also local councils. Included in the law -- under varying circumstances governing their use -- are powers for bulk hacking of devices and the collection of internet records.

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UK ministers make it 'top priority' to ensure nature laws do not hamper fracking

The government has made it a “top priority” to ensure protections for national parks and sites of special scientific interest do not obstruct fracking across the country, according to a leaked letter from ministers.

Fracking in both protected areas was ruled out by the government last year, in the Infrastructure Act, although campaigners pointed out that companies could still drill vertically outside park boundaries and then horizontally beneath them.

But it appears ministers are working to ensure that even those limited protections do not get in the way of fracking companies.

“One of our top priorities will be to examine what work is required to ensure that the safeguarding provisions in the [Infrastructure] Act do not inadvertently create fresh barriers to exploration and to minimise the delays that the requirements in the act have introduced,” three ministers wrote to the chancellor, George Osborne.

The letter, dated 7 July 2015 and signed by Liz Truss, the environment secretary; Amber Rudd, the energy secretary; and Greg Clark, the communities secretary, was obtained by Friends of the Earth.

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