DMA joins with Government to push for post-Brexit alignment with EU

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The DMA joins with Government to push for post-Brexit alignment with EU Data Protection policy


What have the DMA and the Government proposed?

The UK and the EU share world-leading data protection standards. These are about to be strengthened through the introduction of GDPR legislation and the UK’s new Data Protection Bill. In recognition of this, the DMA and UK Government have supported the notion of a continued alignment of EU and UK data protection legislation after Brexit.

Why is this important?

Irrespective of what happens after the UK leaves the EU, new rules will be required to govern the flow of information between the UK and the EU. An uninhibited data flow is necessary for ensuring businesses and information services can continue to provide the functions they currently benefit from and offer. Furthermore, a UK position on the European Data Protection Board (which will interpret data protection across the EU post-Brexit) alongside unrestricted access to the data economy will be of great value to UK businesses. In 2015, the EU data economy was valued at €272 billion and is expected to grow to €643 billion by 2020.

As outlined by The Times business columnist, Alexandra Frean:

“The advertising lobby, notably the Direct Marketing Association and the Advertising Association, are pushing for full voting rights on the new board. They have been joined by global technology players such as Facebook, Google and Twitter. […] They argue that supporting General Data Protection Regulations and securing a voice for Britain in Europe on data would be a big win for their industries and for consumers.”

Why do the Government and the DMA support alignment with the EU as opposed to the rest of the world?

As outlined in the Government’s Future Partnership Paper entitled ‘The Exchange and Protection of Personal Data’, the adoption of the EU’s GDPR and the UK’s new Data Protection Bill places the UK in a unique position of alignment with the EU. Thanks to this parity of data protection legislation, after Brexit, the UK would be in a unique position, with the immediate means to share information flows with the EU. In essence, by being the first ‘outside nation’ to have data flow ties with the EU, the UK will be able to solidify and build on the data ties it has already, reaping further economic benefits.

What’s more, implementing these data protection and information standards does not necessarily prevent the UK from exchanging data with the rest of the world. Indeed, the trend of data protection legislation across the globe is moving toward UK and EU standards, offering the potential for vast growth of the data economy.

So, what is happening now?

At present, things are up in the air. Theresa May’s proposal of “an ongoing role for the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office” in the EU after Brexit and a “bespoke arrangement” on data was rejected by Brussels. For now, whether a Brexit deal will include the free exchange of information between the EU and UK is no sure thing. Nonetheless, the DMA will continue to push for maximum alignment with EU data protection policy in order to secure the benefits of the data economy.

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