Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have set out their stall on the forthcoming data regulations from Europe, arguing that a balanced approach is needed to avoid stifling industry growth or impacting people's privacy.
Representatives of the three major political parties said at the Big Digital Debate hosted by TechUK that there must be a considered approach to how data access and citizens' privacy are managed.
All three parties raised concerns about the stringent demands of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to replace the outdated Data Protection Directive established in 1995.
The new regulations, due to launch later in 2015, will see draconian limits imposed on data use.
Julian David, chief executive of TechUK, who joined the panel of politicians, highlighted how GDPR will pose significant challenges for digital companies that rely on data access to deliver products and services.
"Every digital industry is potentially affected by this. And frankly what we've got isn't going to help citizens; isn't going to help jobs and growth," he said.
"I think all politicians need to up their game on this, from understanding the impact on the future of our economy and understanding the way to make things better in Europe.
"We do welcome governments in moving towards that, because [GDPR] will be a killer for the industry and a killer for job growth."
Industry panel member David Evans, director at BCS, echoed David's concerns. "I don't like my options at the moment and I think we need to create some new ones," he said.
"So first and foremost, whoever forms a government after this election [must] take this seriously and put some real skin into this."
Ed Vaizey, minister of state for culture and the digital economy, described the government's approach as straddling data use and privacy.
"We've always taken the view in government that we want to see a balance between the rights of the consumer to protect their data and have a say in how that data is used, and the need for business to be able to use that data and provide the consumer with a much better service," he said.
Chi Onwurah, shadow minister for digital government, said that a Labour government in 2015 would take a similarly balanced approach to data regulation.
"We do need to see a coherent approach to data protection and use across Europe and that's what we would support - not everything that is being proposed at the moment," she said.
"We've committed to a review of public data use and there would obviously be implications for that to our approach to [data regulation]."
Liberal Democrat spokesman Julian Huppert said that the GDPR tries to enshrine too many things at once, citing the need for clarity and a balanced approach.
"We all definitely benefit from getting this right. It is absolutely an essential thing to do; to have clear rules, clear harmony," he said.
"I think if we get it right, we can have better privacy and better security - better business and better data protection. We're not at the technical limits of what you can have with either of them.
"So we can go in a right direction if we move away from this idea that [data regulation] must be one or the other."
Despite Huppert's positive outlook, work will be needed across the UK's public sector as local councils and the NHS are among the worst offenders when it comes to data breaches.
Data use and privacy is a hot topic for governments and technology companies, particularly when the two of them meet, such as when Google altered its UK privacy policies to comply with the Information Commissioner's Office.
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