UK Trade with EU: Data Protection

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of relaxing (a) General Data Protection Regulations and (b) UK data protection rules on securing a free trade agreement with the EU before the end of the transition period.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

During the transition period (until 31 December) there is no change to the current data protection regime, and the GDPR will continue to apply.

At the end of the transition period, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA) will retain the GDPR in UK domestic law, while the legislation implementing the Law Enforcement Directive (LED) (Part 3 of the Data Protection Act 2018) will also be preserved.

We have made Regulations under the EUWA to make necessary and appropriate changes to the retained legislation so that the UK’s data protection law continues to function effectively after the transition period. In order for the free flow of data from the EEA to the UK to continue at the end of the transition period, we are seeking adequacy decisions from the EU under both the GDPR and the LED.

As with all policy areas, the UK will control our own data protection laws and regulations in line with our interests, after the end of the transition period. We want our data protection law to remain fit for purpose and to support the future objectives of the UK. The UK intends to operate a high-quality regime that promotes growth and innovation, and underpins the trustworthy use of data as the global economy becomes increasingly digitised and data-enabled.

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