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Home > News > Company News > Digital minister to be questio.....

Digital minister to be questioned on post-Brexit data sharing later this morning

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2017-12-20
At 10:30am this morning, the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee will start questioning  Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (pictured) on  Brexit’s implications for data flows across Europe.

The House of Lords is following up a report last year with a view to examining the options available for securing uninterrupted data flows across four elements of EU data protection: the GDPR, the Police and Criminal Justice Directive (PCJ) the EU-US Privacy Shield and the EU-US Umbrella Agreement.

In last year’s report, the Committee highlighted the lack of detail in Government plans to deliver uninterrupted flows of data and warned that any arrangement that results in greater friction could present a non-tariff trade barrier that would put the UK at a competitive disadvantage and hinder police and security cooperation.

As the Government prepares to enter phase two of the Brexit negotiations, the Committee will examine how data transfers will fit into the next phase of the negotiations.

Questions the Minister is likely to be asked include

Will there be separate discussions around data transfers for commercial purposes and for police and security cooperation?

Are there any areas in which the UK will be able to diverge from EU data protection laws without jeopardising its prospects of obtaining and retaining an adequacy decision? For example, are there any plans to make changes in future to the right to be forgotten?

Will EU officials come to the UK to conduct reviews of UK data protection standards, similar to the type of review recently conducted in the US as part of the EU-US Privacy Shield, post-Brexit in the event that the UK successfully obtains an adequacy decision?

What steps has the Government taken so far to ensure that data flows will be able to continue with the US once the UK leaves the EU, and without jeopardising any potential adequacy decision? What about data transfers between the UK and other third countries?

How will references in the GDPR to the Charter on Fundamental Rights be dealt with after Brexit?

The House of Lords report decided that even though the UK will no longer be bound by EU data protection laws, there is no prospect of a clean break. Legal controls on the transfer of personal data to non-EU countries mean that any changes in the EU data protection regime could affect the standards that the UK needs to meet to maintain an adequate level of protection.

Because Brexit means the UK will lose the institutional platform from which it has been able to influence EU data protection rules, the Committee recommends that the Government secure a continuing role for the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office on the European Data Protection Board.

Without a transitional arrangement, the lack of tried and tested fall-back options for data-sharing in the area of law enforcement would raise concerns about the UK’s ability to maintain deep police and security cooperation with the EU and its Member States in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.