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EU adopts ‘adequacy’ decisions allowing data to continue flowing freely to the UK

  • The European Union (EU) has formally recognised the UK’s high data protection standards after more than a year of constructive talks 

  • This will allow the continued seamless flow of personal data from the EU to the UK 

Personal data can continue to flow freely between Europe and the UK following agreement by the European Union to adopt ‘data adequacy’ decisions. 

The UK government welcomes the move, which rightly recognises the country’s high data protection standards. Formal adoption of the decisions under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Law Enforcement Directive (LED) allows personal data to flow freely from the EU and wider European Economic Area (EEA) to the UK. The decisions mean that UK businesses and organisations can continue to receive personal data from the EU and EEA without having to put additional arrangements in place with European counterparts. 

This free flow of personal data supports trade, innovation and investment, assists with law enforcement agencies tackling crime, and supports the delivery of critical public services sharing personal data as well as facilitating health and scientific research. 

The UK, which now operates a fully independent data policy, has already recognised the EU and EEA member states as ‘adequate’, as part of its commitment to establish a smooth transition for the UK’s departure from the bloc. 

The government plans to promote the free flow of personal data globally and across borders, including through ambitious new trade deals and through new data adequacy agreements with some of the fastest growing economies, while ensuring people’s data continues to be protected to a high standard. 

All future decisions will be based on what maximises innovation and keeps up with evolving tech. As such, the government’s approach will seek to minimise burdens on organisations seeking to use data to tackle some of the most pressing global issues, including climate change and the prevention of disease. 

Secretary of State for Digital Oliver Dowden said

“After more than a year of constructive talks it is right the European Union has formally recognised the UK’s high data protection standards. 

“This will be welcome news to businesses, support continued cooperation between the UK and the EU and help law enforcement authorities keep people safe. 

“We will now focus on unlocking the power of data to drive innovation and boost the economy while making sure we protect people’s safety and privacy.” 

John Foster CBI Director of Policy said: 

“This breakthrough in the EU-UK adequacy decision will be welcomed by businesses across the country. 

“The free flow of data is the bedrock of the modern economy and essential for firms across all sectors– from automotive to logistics – playing an important role in everyday trade of goods and services. 

“This positive step will help us move forward as we develop a new trading relationship with the EU.” 

Julian David techUK CEO said

“Securing an EU-UK adequacy decision has been a top priority for techUK and the wider tech industry since the day after the 2016 referendum. The decision that the UK’s data protection regime offers an equivalent level of protection to the EU GDPR is a vote of confidence in the UK’s high data protection standards and is of vital importance to UK-EU trade as the free flow of data is essential to all business sectors. 

“The data adequacy decision also provides a basis for the UK and EU to work together on global routes for the free flow of data with trust, building on the G7 Digital and Technology declaration and possibly unlocking €2 trillion of growth. 

“The UK must also now move to complete the development of its own international data transfer regime in order to allow companies in the UK not just to exchange data with the EU, but also to be able to access opportunities across the world.” 

For more on the press release and to view notes to the editors please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/eu-adopts-adequacy-decisions-allowing-data-to-continue-flowing-freely-to-the-uk