The "red tape" task force headed by Sir Iain Duncan-Smith reported earlier this summer on ways of reducing regulations post Brexit.

Radical reforms were suggested for data protection.  Currently EU data protection law is incorporated into our law as UK GDPR.  It seems that at present there is no appetite to adopt these recommendations immediately but the Government has clearly signalled some proposed early divergences between EU and UK privacy law, aimed primarily at assisting international trade, particularly with the US, Australia, Colombia, Dubai, The Republic of Korea and Singapore.

In a Government Press release and in interviews with the Daily Telegraph and a timed Press release from the Information Commissioner’s Office, Oliver Dowden, Digital Secretary, made a series of announcements to publicise this intention.

The proposed new Head of Data Protection Regulation (John Edwards, formerly New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner), will apparently be tasked with putting into effect these proposed regulatory changes.  The interview with the Daily Telegraph highlighted matters such as “cookie pop-ups” and proposed regulations to reduce the level of these experienced by the average user (dependent apparently on a targeted approach to type of website).  It will however be interesting to see firstly what any new regulations say and secondly how this will sit with the new proposed Information Commissioner who previously described Facebook in a tweet which he later deleted as “morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide (Myanmar) and facilitate foreign undermining of democratic institutions”.

Perhaps of greater immediate significance for UK business is the announced changes relating to “data adequacy partnerships” with the above trading centres.  The Government Press release suggests that approximately 11 billion pounds’ worth of trade goes unrealised around the world due to barriers associate with data transfers.  The Press release refers to supposed “costly compliance measures” which currently prevent such international data sharing although it is relatively light on detail.

At present the light touch adoption of EU data protection laws in UK GDPR  “passports” all data transfer between the UK and EU.   The Government will need to ensure that in diverging from EU law with a view to supposedly freeing up data transfer it does not lose many of the benefits that are currently in place.  The Government will need to reassure the EU in diverging from EU data protection law that it remains a jurisdiction providing a high level of data protection.  To that end the UK has published a UK adequacy manual or mission statement confirming its commitment to high data protection standards.  Data sharing, particularly cross border data sharing, will be high on the watch list of all data protection professionals.


Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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