The fallout from the EU court’s decision to outlaw the safe harbour agreement has reached the highest levels of UK Government after it emerged that Prime Minister David Cameron has taken personal charge of the issue.
While companies big and small try to work out how they will transfer data between the EU and the US, the Cabinet Office says it is urgently reviewing the judgment’s findings and will discuss its implications with industry.
However, it added: “We will continue to press the European Commission to ensure data can still be transferred.”
The EU’s Article 29 Working Party – which is made up of the data regulators of the EU states – has given a deadline of January 31 2016 for the EU and US to thrash out a new framework before companies face enforcement action.
The most urgent issue for the Government is that the ruling will prevent it sharing intelligence data with the US National Security Agency – even though it was told earlier this year that the US Prism surveillance programme was illegal in the UK.
John Laird, a peer of the Ulster-Scots Agency and fellow of the British Computer Society, made the warning in a speech at the House of Lords on 2 June.
A Cabinet Office spokeswoman told Computer Weekly: “There is an important principle that companies must be able to transfer data to third-party countries with appropriate safeguards, which is why the UK intervened strongly in this case.”
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