Anyone clinging to the hope that a win for the Brexit brigade will prevent UK companies from having to implement the EU General Data Protection Regulation better think again; businesses will be forced to adhere to the new rules whatever the outcome of the In/Out referendum on June 23.
That is according to data protection specialists Amberhawk Training, the legal training firm set up by former Pinsent Masons duo Dr Chris Pounder and Sue Cullen.
Writing in a blog post, Dr Pounder said: “With a leave vote, the UK would become a State outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and therefore would have to offer an ‘adequate level of protection’.”
He claims that the UK Data Protection Act 1998 would not provide this, and maintains that the European Commission has already threatened “infraction proceedings” to make sure the DPR is brought into compliance with current Directive standards.
Dr Pounder then goes on to ask: “Would German bankers in Frankfurt wanting to supplant the City of London argue that the personal data cannot be transferred to the UK on inadequacy grounds?
“If the consequential Euro-divorce becomes messy, could the European Commission use the fact that the Data Protection Act 1998 is inadequate level of protection as a negotiating tactic?
“Could the European Parliament argue that UK national security access to personal data remains as expansive as that in the US and therefore the UK is not a safe place to transfer personal data concerning Europeans?”
He concludes: “The answer to all questions is, in my opinion, yes. So how does the UK defuse the risk and offer an adequate level of protection? Why, it implements the essential parts of the GDPR, even if the UK votes to leave the European Union. To do otherwise, could threaten the transfers of personal data into the UK from the EU.”
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