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To: Nadine Dorries MP, DCMS Secretary of State & Thérèse Coffey MP, DWP Secretary of State

Don't cut our workplace surveillance rights in the UK's new data protection regulations

Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash

Don’t use the new data protection regulations to cut workers’ rights to challenge surveillance tech at work. Any new regulations the government devise must keep our current rights, build on them with new rights to explainability for high risk AI or automated decision making and against detriment due to inaccurate data. They must also mandate equality impact assessments in decisions on new work data systems.

Why is this important?

This year’s Queen's Speech included proposals to reform UK data protection law. While the details of such reforms are yet to be published, government rhetoric expresses a clear intent to remove regulation.

“Our data regulations will be more proportionate and less burdensome than the EU’s GDPR” the government says. Such a move would not only undermine the privacy of all citizens, it will also weaken workers' ability to question and challenge surveillance technologies and practices implemented by employers.

The findings of UTAW’s Employee Surveillance Survey emphasize just how important it is to tackle surveillance in the workplace. With data demonstrating the impact of surveillance on mental health — almost half said monitoring was having a negative effect on their stress levels — it is clear that stronger worker protections are vital if we are to tackle the UK’s mental health crisis.

In an increasingly digitised and remote working world, the asymmetry in the relationship between employers and employees has the potential to be socially destructive. It needs to change now.
Following the TUC's demands outlined in its Dignity at work and the AI revolution manifesto, we call on the government to:

• Ensure UK data protection legislation includes a universal right to explainability when high-risk AI or ADM (automated decision making) systems are used. The rationale for using such systems should be clear and readily available to employees, alongside the right to request personalised explanation when necessary.

• Amend The Employment Rights Act 1996 to defend workers from detrimental treatment and dismissal as a result of the processing of inaccurate data. This must be enforceable in an employment tribunal.

• Make Equality Impact Audits in the workplace mandatory. They should be made a part of the Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) process and readily accessible to workers, employees and their representatives.



2022-07-27 11:21:58 +0100

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2022-07-19 11:31:58 +0100

If you would like more in depth look into what the Digital Information Bill sets out have a read here:

2022-07-19 11:13:10 +0100

REad and early view into the Digital Information Bill in Parliment now from Michael Veale, Associate Proffesor in Digital RIghts & Regulation

2022-07-14 18:10:48 +0100

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