Accountability and the UK Data Protection Authority: From Cause for Data Subject Complaint to a Model for Europe?

11 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2020 Last revised: 20 Aug 2020

See all articles by David Erdos

David Erdos

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; Trinity Hall

Date Written: January 17, 2020

Abstract

European data protection has long emphasized the role of the Data Protection Authority (DPA) in ensuring relief for data subjects. However, taking the UK case an example, this article demonstrates that authorities can often adopt a highly discretionary and selective approach to data subject complaints. Although such a stance may appear justified by both the myriad types of potentially impactful processing and often generally poor compliance, it is precisely this environment makes a reasonably comprehensive approach regulatory important. However, whilst both the General Data Protection Regulation and increasingly Court of Justice jurisprudence specify important procedural and substantive duties for DPAs as regards complaints, a severe practical accountability gap may remain. It is argued that, notwithstanding disappointing case law to date, the UK’s recent empowerment of its accessible tribunal system to order the DPA to progress complaints could if robustly and broadly interpreted provide a valuable model of European DPA accountability going forward even after Brexit.

Keywords: data protection, judicial review, redress mechanisms, regulation, monetary penalties, privacy, tribunals

Suggested Citation

Erdos, David, Accountability and the UK Data Protection Authority: From Cause for Data Subject Complaint to a Model for Europe? (January 17, 2020). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 14/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3521372 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3521372

David Erdos (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/people/academic/d-o-erdos/5972

Trinity Hall ( email )

University of Cambridge
Trinity Lane
Cambridge, CB2 1TJ
United Kingdom

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