Data protection law was born in the 1970s out of a concern that the potential from emerging technology would be lost if we didn’t embrace innovation.
I don’t know what she means. Does anyone else?
Studies I’m aware of more generally see data protection law arising, from the 1960s through to the early 1980s, out of a combination of: increasing awareness of and focus on fundamental human rights; an understanding that use of computers would cause an exponential increase in the ability to process information; a desire that concerns about the preceding two should not lead to unnecessary barriers to international trade.
(See, for example, the UK 1972 Report of the Committee on Privacy, chaired by Kenneth Younger, and the UK 1978 Report of the Committee on Data Protection chaired by Sir Norman Lindop. See, especially, the 1980 OECD Guidelines and the 1981 Council of Europe Convention 108.)
Whatever Ms Denham’s words mean, they miss the foundational status of human rights in modern data protection law. And that is a glaring omission. Article 1 of the UKGDPR is clear – data protection law now, as it always has
protects fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons and in particular their right to the protection of personal data
There’s nothing wrong with embracing innovation (I do it myself). But let’s not misstate history.