The European Commission announced on Monday that it has taken decisions enabling Europeans’ data to continue to flow to the United Kingdom, satisfied that privacy protections had not been harmed as a result of Brexit.
The commission vice president in charge of transparency, Vera Jourova, said in a statement that London’s “legal regime of protecting personal data is as it was.”
“We have significant safeguards and if anything changes on the UK side, we will intervene,” she said
The two decisions, which concern the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules on personal data protection and a law enforcement directive, mean that personal data collected in the EU and sent to the United Kingdom “benefits from an essentially equivalent level of protection to that guaranteed under EU law.”
The verdicts will, in particular, ensure that UK-based businesses that rely on EU citizens’ data can continue to operate.
The post-Brexit transition phase, which kept data-flow restrictions constant, was set to expire at the end of June.
The EU’s choices, on the other hand, came with a few caveats.
For starters, there is a four-year “sunset provision” in the adequacy agreement.
Should the UK diverge from the GDPR at any point, “the commission can decide at any moment in time to suspend, terminate, or change the decision,” a representative for the commission told journalists.
Personal data relating to immigration control is also left out of the overall accord, following a British court ruling a month ago that the GDPR’s restrictions in that area were incompatible with UK law.
“The EU has the highest standards when it comes to personal data protection and these must not be compromised when personal data is transferred abroad,” EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN