In its complex Brexit negotiations, the government has set out its latest position, this time on the protection and exchange of personal data with the EU.
It aims to ensure personal data would continue to move back and forth between the UK and the EU in the future in a safe, properly regulated way and, using ‘weasel’ words, describes this as a ‘unique approach that could allow data to continue to be exchanged to ensure ongoing competitiveness, innovation, and job creation’.
The document speaks of an ‘unprecedented alignment’ between British and European law and claims the new model ‘would allow us to work more closely with the EU, providing continuity and certainty for business, allowing public authorities, including law enforcement authorities, to continue their close co-operation, protecting people’s data and privacy and providing for ongoing regulatory co-operation between the UK and EU data protection authorities’.
Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock, said: “In the modern world, data flows increasingly underpin trade, business and all relationships. We want the secure flow of data to be unhindered in the future as we leave the EU. So a strong future data relationship between the UK and EU, based on aligned data protection rules, is in our mutual interest. The UK is leading the way on modern data protection laws and we have worked closely with our EU partners to develop world leading data protection standards.”
He added that the UK’s goal would be “to combine strong privacy rules with a relationship that allows flexibility, to give consumers and businesses certainty in their use of data”.
In 2015 the digital economy was worth £118.4 billion and relies on data being able to flow freely back and forth. Any disruption to these cross-border data flows could be costly to both Britain and the EU.
As the UK and the EU build a new, deep and special partnership it is essential that we agree a UK-EU model for exchanging and protecting personal data that:
- allows data to continue to be exchanged in a safe and properly regulated way
- offers sufficient stability and confidence for businesses, public authorities, and individuals
- provides for ongoing regulatory cooperation between the EU and the UK on current and future data protection issues, building on the positive opportunity of a partnership between global leaders on data protection
- continues to protect the privacy of individuals respect UK sovereignty, including the UK’s ability to protect the security of its citizens and its ability to maintain and develop its position as a leader in data protection
- does not impose unnecessary additional costs to business
- is based on objective consideration of evidence.
The spokesman added: “We look forward to the EU outlining its own proposals in this area and taking forward discussions in future negotiations.”
You can find the text of this press release here.