NEWS21 June 2021

UK-EU data adequacy agreement ratified

Brexit Europe GDPR News Privacy UK

EUROPE – The European Council has signed off on a post-Brexit data adequacy deal with the UK to ensure data transfers can continue between the EU and the UK.

EU data privacy abstract image

The agreement will broadly keep the UK’s existing data adequacy agreement in place and approves the UK’s data protection system and protocols for the transfer of personal data from Europe.

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the UK and the EU agreed to temporarily keep existing data transfer arrangements in place – until 1st July at the latest – while negotiating over a permanent adequacy solution.

The European Commission published its draft decisions on adequacy in February, concluding that the UK’s data protection law and practice “ensures an essentially equivalent level of protection” to that guaranteed under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Law Enforcement Directive.

The European Council had previously passed a resolution stating that if the data adequacy deal was adopted without changes, national data protection authorities should suspend transfers of personal data to the UK when indiscriminate access is possible.

The resolution from the European parliament followed suggestions from the European Data Protection Board that UK bulk access practices, onward transfers and international agreements needed further clarification.

Business and data industry groups have welcomed the agreement on data adequacy. Chris Combemale, chief executive of the Data and Marketing Association (DMA), said: “A positive decision on data adequacy is a huge relief for thousands of businesses across the UK.

“The government estimated that without adequacy the UK economy could lose up to £85bn, so this announcement is a significant boost after a challenging year.

“The UK can now progress new data legislation, such as the crucial National Data Strategy, knowing that a high-standards and innovation-focused approach rests in harmony with the European perspective. We look forward to a strong relationship with Europe and the rest of the world in matters of data transfers and standards.”