DMA issues dire warning over post-Brexit data transfers

dma 1The DMA is ramping up the pressure on the Government to ensure the free flow of data between the EU and UK businesses continues post-Brexit, warning that the UK cannot retain its position as a “global leader in data, technology and marketing” without an adequacy deal.
DMA group chief executive Chris Combemale issued the warning ahead of a Brexit briefing, where the political landscape, the meaning of potential Brexit deals and latest legal issues will be discussed.
He said: “GDPR has been implemented in the UK via the Data Protection Act 2018 which will remain the law in the UK. However, without an adequacy agreement in place, UK businesses and other organisations would need to find an alternative route to retain the free flow of data with the EU.”
Combemale points out that the challenges of a no-deal Brexit would be even more complex for British businesses, requiring them to find an alternative legal basis, such as model contract clauses or an industry code of conduct.
He added: “This could have further knock-on effects on the UK public, with the possibility of jobs moving to the EU and investment also decreasing.”
For example, a UK-based company that has EU customers may use an EU-based data centre, but the information is processed at the UK HQ. If the UK leaves the EU without a data deal this company would lose access to its own data, as transfers from the EU to UK would be prohibited.
The company would need to find a new supplier or may move operations to the EU, so it can efficiently serve EU-based customers and not have to worry about transferring data from the EU to the UK.
With this in mind, the DMA is working in collaboration with European trade body Fedma to mitigate the risks by having a Fedma Code of Conduct endorsed by the European Data Protection Board which would be available to UK companies via the DMA.
Combemale added: “In short, a no-deal Brexit is antithetical to the interests of the data and marketing industry as a whole. A no-deal on data would cause immediate and complete ceasing of UK data-flows with EU countries, a practice through which enormous amounts of business is conducted.
“Indeed, 75% of the UK’s cross-border data flows are with the EU. Having lobbied this position for months, we know that the Government understands the ramifications of this. We shall continue to impress upon the Government and our EU partners the importance of getting a deal on data.”

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