UK government wants EU to acquiesce with its data safeguards even as Brexit looms

White paper sets out to convince the European Union that it is within its best interest to agree on UK's data protection proposals

The UK government is calling for a special agreement on the protection and sharing of personal data post-Brexit, claiming it is in the European Union's (EU) best interests.

The highly anticipated Brexit white paper, which was met with chaotic scenes in the House of Commons yesterday, outlined the government's approach to the UK's departure from the EU bloc.

Its approach to Brexit has been called "soft" by sections of the Conservative Party and has seen foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit secretary David Davis both resign.

The Prime Minister Theresa May introduced the document stressing that it is beneficial to both the UK and the EU to agree to the terms laid out by her government.

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"The proposal set out in this White Paper would honour the result of the referendum. It would deliver a principled and practical Brexit that is in our national interest, and the UK's and the EU's mutual interest," she wrote.

The document calls for the EU to agree on specific arrangements to support ongoing cooperation on data protection with the UK where the two continue to exchange and protect personal data.

The paper states that the UK is a "global leader in strong data protection standards" and that as a member of the EU, the UK worked closely with other member states and institutions to develop robust protections for personal data, ensuring businesses and law enforcement agencies can share data safely and smoothly.

It called the EU's adequacy framework "the right starting point" for an arrangement for data protection but the government now wants to go beyond the framework for stability and transparency and on regulatory cooperation.

Using the Data Protection Act 2018 as an example of the UK keeping in line with the EU's GDPR legislation, the white paper said that the UK is ready to begin preliminary discussions on an adequacy assessment for the free flow of data between the two authorities.

Trying to ram the point home, the Information Commissioner's Office is cited as further evidence the proposal is beneficial to the EU: "The ICO is an internationally respected, influential and well-resourced regulator in this regard. As a result, the future UK-EU arrangements for data protection should provide for ongoing cooperation between the ICO and EU data protection authorities."

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The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier had previously spoken on the subject of the UK and EU agreeing on a special deal for data flow saying that the UK will be considered a third party.

"It is the United Kingdom that is leaving the European Union. It cannot, on leaving, ask us to change who we are and how we work," said Barnier, adding: "The United Kingdom wants to leave. That is its decision. Not ours. And that has consequences."

Picture: Shutterstock

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