Data Protection after Brexit: providing certainty for stakeholders (Summary)

Below we present the summary of the session on Brexit that took place at Fide on April 12th, 2018, with Speaker Paul Gaskell, Deputy Director, EU Exit Data Protection Negotiation Hub; and Moderator Javier Fernández-Samaniego, Director of Samaniego Law
The goal of the session was to summarise the UK's objectives for data protection arrangements in line with the paper Government published on August, and as highlighted by the Prime Minister in her recent speeches in Munich and Mansion House. 

The future exchange and protection of personal data

The UK is seeking a new bespoke future relationship with the EU based on high data protection standards to enable the continued free flow of personal data between the EU and the UK. The UK’s position on the exchange and protection of personal data has been set out in the future partnership paper of 24 August 2017
There was discussion of the critical importance of data for modern economic, trade, law enforcement and regulatory relationships. In a globalised digital economy, the value of cross-border data flows now exceeded that of the cross-border flow of goods. The UK is a global data hub, and 75 per cent of the UK’s cross-border data flows are with EU countries. Companies based in the EU, offering goods and services to consumers in the UK, depend on these data flows to access markets, facilitate supply chains and enable transactions. Similarly, an agreement on data protection will underpin vital cooperation between EU and UK public authorities, e.g. on law enforcement.
It was recognised that an agreement on data protection which ensured the continued free flow of data was critical. The UK was starting from an unprecedented position since the UK’s domestic data protection rules will be fully aligned with the EU data protection framework at the point of exit, following UK implementation of the GDPR and Law Enforcement Directive in May 2018. There was a positive discussion around UK’s proposals for an ambitious data protection agreement that went beyond a simple adequacy decision, and the benefits to all EU partners of an appropriate ongoing role for the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO - the UK’s independent data protection authority) in EU fora.

Regulatory co-operation

There was discussion around the important an dynamic role  played by the ICO in the global data debate, and the resource and expertise it contributes in EU and global fora. The ICO works closely with other EU regulators and is highly-regarded among its EU and international counterparts. The ICO set out how it could continue to make an important contribution to citizens living and working both in the UK and in the EU following the UK’s exit from the EU.
A continued role for the ICO in EU cooperation mechanisms would mean it could assist other EU data protection authorities in investigations, research, and policy development. For example, as data crosses borders, it will be easier for the Spanish data protection authority (the AEPD) to investigate any issues relating to the UK jointly with the ICO than do it alone. The group discussed the value of data protection authorities working together on a common agenda.

​Fighting cross border crime

It was recognised that the ability of law enforcement agencies to transfer data both within the EU and with third countries is crucial in our efforts to fight cross border crime and terrorism. The UK is seeking a comprehensive data protection agreement with the EU to cover data processing for both commercial and law enforcement purposes - i.e. both the GDPR and the Law Enforcement Directive. The UK highly values law enforcement cooperation with the EU and
contributes a significant amount of data to EU law enforcement tools and measures. This
includes agencies such as Europol where the UK is the highest contributor of data, relating to serious and organised crime, to Europol’s Analysis Projects.


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