Fears are mounting that MPs may be trying to quietly ditch crucial EU laws post-Brexit, as Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg is now in charge of a Bill aiming to scrap unwanted “retained law”.
One of the European Union laws provoking legal concern of being scrapped by the Tories is the human review of decisions made by computer algorithms.
If data protection rules, known as GDPR, are diluted, Britain risks another A-levels fiasco similar to 2020, according to The Independent.
Lawyers have spoken out amid media reports suggesting MPs may be trying to push legal changes through without proper scrutiny, by using backstage regulations.
Eleonor Duhs, head of data privacy at law firm Bates Wells, who also worked on Brexit legislation, labelled the possibility as “dangerous” and insisted parliament must be allowed to “scrutinise” and “debate” any changes.
She said: “Changing data protection law is very central to the government’s post-Brexit policy.
“We all remember the A-levels fiasco in 2020, when an algorithm decided what A-level students’ results should be and research showed that the poorest students received worse marks.
“These sorts of decisions are really quite dangerous, potentially, and the Information Commissioner’s Office said it didn’t agree that this human review of automated decision making should be removed.”
The government’s ex legal boss who resigned because of Brexit policies, also expressed alarm over the lack of scrutiny of scrapping laws.
Jonathan Jones, said “hundreds of other” legal protections could be silently removed, urging the government to ensure “meaningful democratic input”.
He said: “I’m a bit suspicious of references to special mechanisms, or changes being made easier or faster.
“Secondary legislation typically gets minimal scrutiny by parliament.”
The GDPR law guarantees that people can have a human review of a decision made by computers – such as loan approval or rejection or job recruitment exams.
But last September, Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith pushed a proposal to scrap it – with a government paper stating automated decision-making will soar across industries over the next few years.
“The need to maintain a capability to provide human review may, in future, not be practicable or proportionate, and it is important to assess when this safeguard is needed,” the document added.
Brexit Freedoms Bill backlash
The government’s announcement of a Brexit Freedoms Bill last month has sparked a lot of backlash over the past two weeks.
Lib Dem business spokesperson Sarah Olney said the Bill is “sneaking through a bonfire of retained law without proper scrutiny”, and warned it will “end badly for farmers and businesses”.
The Scottish and Welsh governments also hit out at Tory plans to remove thousands of EU rules, labelling the proposals as “last-minute”.
Boris Johnson insisted the plans “will further unleash the benefits of Brexit and ensure that businesses can spend more of their money investing, innovating and creating jobs.”