Reports that Brussels is concerned about how the UK’s data protection landscape will be redrawn after the Brexit transitional period ends are not new.
Nevertheless, the references in the government’s recently announced National Data Strategy to removing and reducing legal barriers to data access and sharing will only add grist to the mill for the EU when deciding whether to impose restrictions on sending data to the UK from 1 January 2021.
On any objective measure, these restrictions would be hugely damaging for Britain and the businesses that the government says it wants to help innovate, experiment and drive a new area of growth in the UK.
The government hasn’t articulated whether, and if so how, it intends to unwind the UK’s primary data protection law, which currently replicates the GDPR.
However, given that its prospects of receiving an adequacy finding from the EU are largely dependent on its commitment to maintaining a GDPR-like framework, by indicating its intention to challenge the status quo the UK is playing high-stakes poker with an opponent that holds many, if not all, of the chips on the table.
The European commission is currently examining whether the UK’s data laws will be in line with the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR) and law enforcement directive after 1 January 2021, allowing the movement of data vital to the law enforcement agencies but also the banking, health, entertainment, insurance and tech sectors.