UK Government publishes contingency plans in case of a no deal on data

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UK Government publishes contingency plans in case of a no deal on data


The UK Government intends to publish a series of notices addressing specific concerns in relation to a no deal in Brexit negotiations.

The latest one addressed the impact on data and how UK-EU data transfers would be affected.

The document begins by stating that the Government believes the likelihood of a no deal scenario is very unlikely but they are nonetheless taking the necessary precautions.

In the event of a no deal, nothing will change in terms of UK law. The Data Protection Act 2018 has replaced the 1998 Act and the EU Withdrawal Bill will make the GDPR UK law upon Brexit.

The Government also vow to maintain high data protection standards after Brexit so the UK will continue to be in a position of strong regulatory alignment with the EU.

In light of this, the Government will allow UK organisations to transfer personal data to the EU even if no Brexit deal is struck.

However, the EU has an established mechanism to allow the free flow of personal data to countries outside the EU, namely an adequacy decision.

The UK is ready to start the process but the EU won’t begin negotiations until the UK has left the EU and is classified as a third country.

Without an adequacy agreement in place, UK organisations would need to find an alternative legal basis if receiving personal data from the EU.

The document states that there 2 other legal grounds that businesses could possibly use and they are; standard contract clauses and derogations in EU law.

Standard contract clauses are “model data protection clauses that have been approved by the European Commission and enable the free flow of personal data when embedded in a contract.”

While in certain circumstances, an organisations EU partners may be able to rely on a derogation to transfer personal data to the UK organisation.

This is nothing new and interestingly the notice makes no mention of the bespoke data deal that the Government is hoping to achieve. The deal has been nicknamed ‘adequacy plus’ because it goes beyond normal adequacy status in recognition of the UK’s deep and unique regulatory alignment with the EU.

Overall, the notice is looking to ease economic uncertainty and remind people that the Government believes a no deal to be extremely unlikely.

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