Ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU it is critical the two borders arrive at a mutual agreement on the free flow of data, to ensure productivity across the border continues.
A joint paper commissioned by techUK, Finance UK and Dentons urges the EU and UK to prepare a mutual adequacy agreement sooner rather than later, ahead of Brexit in 2019.
Putting the agreement in place is vital to ensure the protection of the vast amount of cross-border personal data, from citizens and businesses alike after the UK’s withdrawal.
Finance UK and techUK aim to look at how a mutual adequacy agreement between the EU and UK would preserve the existing relationships between the two. Additionally, it would prevent disruption to data sharing in the future and enable organisations to grow.
Furthermore preserving the relationship gives both the EU and UK the ability to continue to offer businesses the much-needed regulatory certainty they somewhat lack at the moment.
Stephen Jones, CEO, UK Finance said: “It may not always be obvious, but every aspect of our economy as well as our everyday lives relies in some way or another on data. In its current form, the EU’s interconnected regulatory environment facilitates millions of vital data exchanges every today.
“Leaving this relationship will result in significant changes and time must be allowed for new agreements to be put in place. The UK and EU should implement transitional arrangements maintaining the status quo to give both sides time to agree how they will deliver high standards of data protection, allowing both communication and trade to flourish.”
The agreement process must begin as soon as possible, in order to create a mutual desired outcome so both parties can successfully transfer data freely post-Brexit. For the UK it must ensure the new agreement matches its existing international and ownership regimes with the US, to provide protection at the same level.
Free flow data has huge benefits to businesses, residents and the economy bringing trade across the border and sharing biomedical research that could potentially save lives.
Julian David, CEO, techUK said: “We are a data-driven economy and our success is underpinned by our ability to move that data cross-border. With the Brexit deadline growing ever closer, time is of the essence. The UK and EU must recognise each other’s data protection frameworks as adequate as soon as possible.
“This should be a priority for Phase Two of Brexit negotiations. This isn’t solely for the benefit of one industry or one country but for the whole European economy as cross-border data flows become ever more important for trade and the ability to do businesses.”
When the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 the automatic legal framework for free flow of data will be lost unless the new arrangement is agreed. Losing the framework and not preparing another will lead to severely limited transfers of data.
However if no agreement is reached the paper explains alternative options for businesses, citizens and academic organisations such as Codes of Conducts or Binding Corporate Rules. These alternative methods could prove costly or complex to carry out and if not put in place the transfer of data could potentially stop bringing even higher costs for both economies.
Bringing together a common regulatory regime promotes world-leading standards of data protection and privacy on a cross-border basis, which in time will benefit both the EU and UK to successfully flourish in the post-Brexit environment.
Martin Fanning, Partner, Dentons said: “In a connected world data is ubiquitous and data protection considerations are paramount – this analysis assists all sides of the Brexit debate, and across all sectors, to examine the challenges posed in relation to the free flow of data.”