Brexit: EU 'needs to be reasonable' warns Truss
Member state envoys endorsed the UK’s data protection standards as sufficiently high enough that such information will be allowed to flow between Britain and the EU. The decision will allow the European Commission to adopt two adequacy decisions before the end of June to allow a seamless transition at the end of a six-month grace period for data flows. It relates to the EU’s overarching General Data Protection Regulation and a directive on processing data connected with criminal offences, including victims, witnesses and suspects.
The move is seen as a big boost for cross-Channel business and crime-fighting efforts after Brexit.
Global software giant BSA welcomed the decision by EU member states, saying that adequacy frameworks were vice for personal data transfers of thousands of firms operating in Europe.
The EU has previously granted similar adequacy decisions for Argentina, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Georgina Kon, a technology specialist at law firm Linklaters, said businesses could breathe a sigh of relief.
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She said: “However, due to the uniqueness of the UK decision, which has no end date but is subject to constant review, we know that the European Commission will be watching the UK closely.”
The expert said Brussels would keep a particularly close eye on Britain’s plans to liberalise its data transfer regimes.
A special task force commissioned by Boris Johnson has proposed scrapping the UK’s existing data protection rules and replace them with a new regime.
This will likely spook eurocrats in Brussels, who will insist they need to reexamine any changes made to Britain’s systems.
The EU Commission, backed by member states, says the UK's data protections are as robust as bloc's
The task force, comprising of three senior Tory MPs, has branded the EU’s GDPR “prescriptive and inflexible” and has urged the Prime Minister to scrap the rules to avoid stifling growth and innovation.
In their report, the MPs insisted the UK has an opportunity to reform data protection rules following Brexit and “cement its position as a world leader in data”.
They hit out at the bloc’s level of compliance obligations that businesses much adhere to and claimed the consent mechanism is impractical.
It was claimed that the EU’s system can harm firms trying to develop new artificial intelligence systems.
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“The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to give people protection over their data privacy and confidence to engage in the digital economy,” their report, authored by MPs Iain Duncan Smith, Theresa Villiers and George Freeman said.
“But in practice, it overwhelms people with consent requests and complexity they cannot understand, while unnecessarily restricting the use of data for worthwhile purposes.
“We propose reform to give stronger rights and powers to consumers and citizens, place proper responsibility on companies using data, and free up data for innovation and in the public interest. GDPR is already out of date and needs to be revised for AI and growth sectors if we want to enable innovation in the UK.”
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Britain was forced to adopt GDPR as a member of the EU, and even passed the Data Protection Act 2018, which mirrors the bloc’s system.
After Brexit, the DPA is seen as a partner for GDPR rather than a replacement.
The Withdrawal Act 2018 absorbed GDPR into domestic law.