In the latest of a series of papers looking at the UK’s future partnership with the EU after Brexit, the Government will says it will consider the case for a "unique approach that could allow data to continue to be exchanged to ensure ongoing competitiveness, innovation and job creation".
The document also outlines how the UK is considering an "ambitious model" for the protection and exchange of personal data with the EU that reflects the unprecedented alignment between British and European law and recognises the high data protection standards that will be in place at the point of exit.
However, the document fails to detail exactly how this will be achieved, instead it simply sets out the Government's wish-list, insisting it is an agreement that:
- Allows data to continue to be exchanged in a safe and properly regulated way;
- Offers sufficient stability and confidence for businesses, public authorities and individuals;
- Provides for ongoing regulatory cooperation between the EU and the UK on current and future data protection issues, building on the positive opportunity of a partnership between global leaders on data protection;
- Continues to protect the privacy of individuals;
- Respects UK sovereignty, including the UK’s ability to protect the security of its citizens and its ability to maintain and develop its position as a leader in data protection;
- Does not impose unnecessary additional costs to business; and is based on objective consideration of evidence.
The Government claims that this would allow the UK to work more closely with the EU, providing continuity and certainty for business, allowing public authorities, including law enforcement authorities, to continue their close co-operation, protecting people’s data and privacy and providing for ongoing regulatory co-operation between the UK and EU data protection authorities.
Minister for Digital Matt Hancock, said: "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.”
However, TechUK deputy CEO Antony Walker insisted the Government must push for an interim period that allows businesses the time need to adapt to a post-Brexit system.
He added: “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."