UK look for continued flow of personal data with EU

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A government paper shows that the UK is set to look for “new arrangements” with the EU to allow for the free flow of personal data to continue.

The government argues that the UK starts from “unprecedented” alignment with EU legislation, but admits that collaboration will be essential to protect British interests.

The paper sets out the UK’s position regarding a UK-EU deal for protecting and exchanging data, saying it will be required in order to maintain a “deep and special partnership”.

In order to achieve this goal, the government suggests that the Information Commissioner be “fully involved” in future discussions.

The government adds that a timeline should be agreed for the implementation of long-term arrangements. This paper raises the possibility of mutual recognition of data protection rules from the two bodies, with the hope that this would allow the continuing flow of data.

“It will help businesses who need to be able to plan their future – they need a sense of what the law will be,” said Dr Karen Mc Cullagh, a legal expert at the University of East Anglia.

“[The paper overlooks] some important facts – the most important one being the Investigatory Powers Act which is likely to present a hurdle.”

On the idea that the Information Commissioner should still have access to EU regulatory dialogue, Dr Mc Cullagh said: “There will be a concern that [UK lawmakers] will lose the ability to influence if they’re not at the table, if they can’t shape future laws.”

“We want the secure flow of data to be unhindered in the future as we leave the EU,” said Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital, on the publication of the paper.

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

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