European Commission proposes UK data adequacy agreement

by Jeremy

The European Commission (EC) has indicated its willingness to offer a data adequacy agreement for the UK, subject to formal approval by EU member states. The commission has published two draft data adequacy decisions, one under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and another under the Law Enforcement Directive (LED), to allow for the continued transfer of personal data to the UK, setting in motion the process of their formal adoption

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The purpose of data adequacy decisions is to determine whether a country or sector within a country outside the European Union (EU) has essentially equivalent data protection standards to the bloc and, therefore, whether data can be shared with it. The UK has already determined under its own rules that the EU offers an adequate level of data protection, with the draft decisions now seeking to assess whether data can still flow in the other direction from the EU to the UK following Brexit. According to the findings, the EC considers that the UK’s data protection laws “ensure a level of protection for personal data… that is essentially equivalent” under both the GDPR and LED, and that the “oversight mechanisms and redress avenues” are sufficiently strong enough to allow data subjects to exercise their rights and sanction infringements.

Both draft decisions will now be scrutinized by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), but because the board does not have the power to block the findings, they will also need sign-off from EU member states before the EC can fully adopt them. Data is currently able to flow from the EU to the UK under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed on 24 December 2020, which provides a six-month bridging period to allow the continued flow of data while the adequacy decisions are fully assessed.    A flow of secure data between the EU and the UK is crucial to maintain close trade ties and cooperate effectively in the fight against crime. Today we launch the process to achieve that. We have thoroughly checked the privacy system that applies in the UK after it has left the EU,” said Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders.

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