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British government seems pleased with the EU decision on post-Brexit data flow

The Government of the United Kingdom has “welcomed” a preliminary decision by the European Union this week. The decision paves the way for the continued free flow of personal data between the EU and the UK.

The European Commission published their draft data adequacy decisions last week. These conclude that the UK can provide acceptable data protection standards to allow the ongoing exchange of data.

“A significant milestone”

The UK Government announced the decision in a press release last week.

“The government welcomes the European Commission’s draft data adequacy decisions, which recognise the UK’s high data protection standards and set out that the UK should be found ‘adequate’,” they said.

Oliver Dowden, the UK’s Secretary of State for Digital, praised the development. “I am glad we have now reached this significant milestone following months of constructive talks,” he said.

The draft decisions said the UK is able to match the protections offered by the EU’s infamous General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Law Enforcement Directive (LED).

The Commission will now go to the European Data Protection Board for a non-binding opinion. The final step will be presentation to EU member states for formal approval and ratification.

The EU already recognises many other countries around the world as adequate. These include Argentina, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and Uruguay. The UK already freely exchanges data with these countries.

Decision is a year in the making

The UK formally provided the Commission with comprehensive explanatory material nearly a year ago, according to the press release. The adequacy assessment then started in March 2020.

Britain already recognised the EU and EEA member states as ‘adequate’ in data. This was as part of its own commitment to establish a smooth transition for the UK’s departure from the bloc.

Since then, UK officials have held a series of discussions with their European Commission counterparts. The talks were led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The talks aim to reiterate carefully and fully the UK’s legal and regulatory framework and demonstrate beyond doubt that the UK clearly meets the EU’s data adequacy requirements.