UK’s post-Brexit data laws to remain aligned with the EU’s

The government says it wants to maintain existing data transfer arrangements between the UK and EU post-Brexit.

It says that making wholesale changes to the relationship would severely damage Britain’s digital economy.

In its latest working paper set to be released on Thursday, the Department for Exiting the European Union will outline proposals to allow personal data to continue to move back and forth between Britain and the EU in a “safe, properly regulated way”.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said this would ensure high data protection standards, the privacy of citizens and certainty and continuity for businesses concerned about the prospect of leaving the EU. It would also ensure British law enforcement agencies could work with their foreign counterparts.

“In the modern world, data flows increasingly underpin trade, business and all relationships,” Hancock continued. “We want the secure flow of data to be unhindered in the future as we leave the EU.

“So a strong future data relationship between the UK and EU, based on aligned data protection rules, is in our mutual interest.

“The UK is leading the way on modern data protection laws and we have worked closely with our EU partners to develop world leading data protection standards.

“The paper published today sets out how we think our data relationship should continue. Our goal is to combine strong privacy rules with a relationship that allows flexibility, to give consumers and businesses certainty in their use of data.”

Commenting ahead of the launch of the paper, techUK Deputy CEO, Antony Walker, said: The free flow of personal data across borders is fundamental to trade, commerce and communication. The tech sector, and increasingly every businesses in the UK that does business internationally, needs a clear legal basis for data transfer post-Brexit. We are pleased that the Government acknowledges the urgent need for a solution to this problem or they risk serious harm to both businesses and consumers.

“This is a complex problem but there is a well understood solution. That would be for the UK and EU to agree a mutual ‘adequacy’ agreement that provides a watertight legal framework for data transfers. It is not yet clear whether the Government’s ‘unique’ solution would go down this route.

“Securing an adequacy agreement or any other unique arrangement will take time. The fastest adequacy decision ever given by the EU took 18 months. This again underlines the need for a significant, time limited, interim period that allows both Government and businesses the time need to adapt to a post-Brexit system.”

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