The marketing industry has backed the Government’s stance on data protection post-Brexit – included in long-awaited White Paper “masterplan” to secure a deal with Brussels – but is still unhappy with the lack of details about how the withdrawal from the EU will affect the industry in the long-term.
In the document, unveiled by Prime Minister Theresa May, the Government reiterates its view that there must be a free flow of data between the UK and EU states. It also calls for the UK Information Commissioner’s Office to retain close links with other EU data regulators and Brussels’ chiefs.
However, it only implies that Commissioner Elizabeth Denham should retain her place on the new European Data Protection Board, rather than demanding it. In May, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator in the Brexit talks, ruled that out completely.
The white paper states: “The ICO is an internationally respected, influential and well-resourced regulator in this regard. As a result, the future UK-EU arrangements on data protection should provide for ongoing co-operation between the ICO and EU data protection authorities.
“This would avoid unnecessary complexity and duplication, and overcome barriers for EU citizens and UK nationals in enforcing their rights across borders and accessing effective means of redress. A continuing role for the ICO would also reduce administrative burdens for businesses and provide for cooperation on resolving data protection disputes. Under the new EU data protection regime, this is achieved through the ICO’s participation in the One Stop Shop mechanism.”
In response, DMA Group chief executive Chris Combemale said: “The DMA supports the Government’s position on the free flow of data in the Brexit whitepaper. We have consistently advocated for a robust UK-EU deal on data protection that would ensure organisations could exchange data freely, much as they do now. This must include continued close cooperation between the ICO and EU data authorities in addition to regulatory alignment. It’s reassuring to see the UK Government has listened to the concerns of our industry and is proposing a way forward that will enable the UK to remain a world leader.”
Advertising Association boss Stephen Woodford said his trade body also welcomed the positive proposals on data protection, adding that cross-border data flows are essential to a healthy advertising ecosystem which is increasingly digital and global in nature.
However, he added: “The end of free movement poses a real danger to our world-class status. UK advertising will still be able to thrive with the right immigration system in place, but we need to see more detailed proposals for a flexible migration system that allows us to hire the brightest and best from around the world to work along-side home-grown talent. So, we need Government to develop a meaningful proposal that will work for our industry.
“We also urge Government to bring forward detail as soon as possible on how it intends to address the fact that the ‘country of origin’ principle will no longer apply to broadcasters based in the UK.”
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