NEWS1 June 2021

EU parliament urges changes to UK-EU data adequacy

Brexit Europe GDPR News Privacy UK

EUROPE – The European parliament has asked the European commission to amend a draft decision on UK data adequacy to prevent bulk access of EU citizens’ personal data.

EU data privacy abstract image

An EU parliament resolution passed on Friday stated that if the implementing decisions taken by the commission are adopted without changes, national data protection authorities should suspend transfers of personal data to the UK when indiscriminate access is possible.

There were 344 votes in favour of the resolution calling for alterations to the draft deal announced in February, with 311 against and 28 abstaining.

UK and EU data protection laws are broadly similar, and a data adequacy agreement needs to be ratified before the end of June to ensure the continued transfer of data between the two parties.

Business groups have warned about the “substantial” negative consequences of failing to agree a data adequacy arrangement. 

The resolution from the European parliament follows suggestions from the European Data Protection Board that UK bulk access practices, onward transfers and international agreements need to be clarified further.

The UK’s data protection regime contains exemptions for national security and immigration, which will apply to EU citizens wishing to stay or settle in the UK.

Current UK legislation also allows for bulk data to be accessed and retained without a person being under suspicion for perpetrating a crime, which the EU court has recently judged to be inconsistent with the General Data Protection Regulation.

There are also concerns that onward data transfers could happen due to the UK’s data-sharing agreements with the US.