NEWS27 June 2016

Data protection law reform will continue despite Brexit

Brexit Data analytics Europe Finance GDPR Legal News UK

UK – Reform of data protection laws will continue despite the UK’s decision to leave the EU in the referendum according to leading legal experts.

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Alexander Brown, partner at Simmons & Simmons and head of the firm’s TMT sector group said: “While there was stiff opposition to many measures contained in the EU General Data Protection Regulation during the negotiations with the UK government, it’s highly unlikely that the Data Protection Act 1998 will remain in place without some form of reform.

"In any event, it will be difficult to avoid the implications of the GDPR for many financial services clients that conduct business across the EU and therefore will need to comply with it.”

‎"The really interesting question – as yet to be decided – is whether the European Commission will recognise the UK as an ‘adequate country’ for the purposes of cross-border personal data transfers or whether the UK could suffer the same fate as the US, where transfers of data have been made more problematic through the scrapping of the US Safe Harbor,” added Brown.

Many feel the most likely outcome is that the EU will favour the UK as an ‘adequate country’ because it has been at the forefront of providing legal protection for consumers in terms of personal data for more than three decades. The UK was one of the first countries in the world to empower its Data Protection Authority to impose fines for personal data breaches.

Bryan Foss, visiting lecturer at Henley Business School, added: “Since the stock market blip in 2008, financial services firms have seen record fines and profit impairments as a direct result of poor identification of operational risks.

“Lack of training and preparing for personal data breaches is a significant internal training issue that many companies are still failing to implement and this is now key to effective risk and governance management where the personal data of millions of customers across the EU is being processed.”