The United Kingdom will seek to diverge from EU data protection rules and establish their own ‘sovereign’ controls in the field, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. His comments came despite the EU affirming that the UK should “fully respect EU data protection rules.”
In a written statement to the House of Commons published yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the United Kingdom will “develop separate and independent policies” in a range of fields, including data protection, adding that the government would seek to maintain high standards in so doing.
Moreover, speaking to reporters on Monday, Johnson said that the UK has no need to bind itself to an agreement with the EU. “We will restore full sovereign controls over our borders, immigration, competition, subsidy rules, procurement, data protection,” he said.
Meanwhile in Brussels, the European Commission released a recommendation for opening trade negotiations with the UK, highlighting previous commitments that both parties had made to maintain consistency in data protection standards.
“In view of the importance of data flows, the envisaged partnership should affirm the Parties’ commitment to ensuring a high level of personal data protection, and fully respect the Union’s personal data protection rules,” the document states, adding that data transfers made post-Brexit between the UK and the EU should be preceded by an adequacy agreement.
The EU’s flagship personal data protection regime, the GDPR, sets down baseline requirements for data protection standards, and addresses minimum privacy standards for transferring EU data outside of the bloc. For countries not based in the EU, adequacy agreements are often signed between the EU and the other party, as a means of safeguarding personal data.
The European Commission has previously stated that the assessment for an adequacy agreement between the UK and the EU will begin on 1 February. The steps to adopt an adequacy agreement, allowing for data transfers between the EU and the UK, would involve a period of Assessment by the Commission, followed by a draft decision from the EU’s executive arm, an opinion by the European Data Protection Board and then a final approval by member states and the College of Commissioners. [...]
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