The European Commission is set to continue letting personal data flow freely between the EU and the UK post Brexit, ensuring a smooth transition for sectors that transfer banking information across the channel.
The EC has issued a draft decision saying that the UK's data protection standards are "essentially equivalent" to the EU's and should be found to be "adequate".
The decision paves the way for personal data to continue flowing freely under both the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Law Enforcement Directive (LED) once the interim regime agreed after Brexit expires at the end of June.
The UK has been frustrated by the length of the process, saying that it made representations to the EU in a timely manner difficult and that the bridging mechanism should not have been needed.
Says Secretary of State for Digital Oliver Dowden: "Although the EU’s progress in this area has been slower than we would have wished, I am glad we have now reached this significant milestone following months of constructive talks in which we have set out our robust data protection framework."
The draft decision now goes to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) for a ‘non-binding opinion’, before being presented to EU member states for formal approval.
In June EDPB chair Andrea Jelinek wrote to the European Parliament, raising concerns over the UK's "adequacy". Specifically, Jelinek questioned whether a deal between the UK and US would ensure "continuity of protection" of EU data being transferred on to the States.
If approved, the arrangement will be reviewed every four years.
Věra Jourová, VP, values and transparency at the EC, says: “Ensuring free and safe flow of personal data is crucial for businesses and citizens on both sides of the Channel. The UK has left the EU, but not the European privacy family.
"At the same time, we should ensure that our decision will stand the test of time. This is why we included clear and strict mechanisms in terms of both monitoring and review, suspension or withdrawal of such decisions, to address any problematic development of the UK system after the adequacy would be granted.”