British businesses 'will still have to abide by EU laws following Brexit'

"Yes" vote in EU referendum won't remove UK from data protection regulations, warns lawyer

Europe

The UK will still be subject to European data protection legislation even if it leaves the European Union, according to a lawyer.

The European Commission is currently discussing reforms to data protection legislation within the 28-country bloc that could have a significant impact on the way all businesses treat data such as personally identifiable information.

Proposals for a root-and-branch reform of existing data protection legislation have been in discussion since 2012 and it had been expected new laws would be implemented by 2014.

However, the Snowden revelations of 2013 have caused the discussions to drag on longer and it is thought new legislation will not be brought in until 2016 - the same year David Cameron hopes to hold an in-out referendum on the UK's continuing membership of the EU.

At a press panel held by analytics firm Teradata, Joanne Bone, a partner at lawyers Irwin Mitchell, said: "If we decide to come out of the EU, there are two things [that will happen]. The first is, as the legislation has extra-territorial jurisdiction built into it. If you monitor the behaviour or collect personal data relating to an EU citizen, you will be caught by it wherever you are.

"So if you are in the UK, even if we are out of the EU, if you are trading with Europe in any way ... [including] dropping cookies, then potentially it won't make any difference whether we are in or out. [But] I don't think there are that many businesses these days that are just UK data focused. So I suspect coming out of the EU will have some impact but not a massive impact."

The European Commission hopes to have completed its revamp of data protection laws by the end of 2015, aiming to strengthen citizens' rights over their data, introducing a right to be forgotten, simpler access for citizens to their own data, and the requirement for explicit consent for companies to process someone's data.

Some countries including the UK have raised concerns over the new legislation, with former justice minister Lord McNally claiming SMBs will not benefit.

It means the proposals could be watered down, but three partial-agreements have been reached in the Council of the EU on key aspects of the General Data Protection Regulation.

These cover rules governing how companies process personal data, rules on how the public sector treats personal data and a measure to make it easier for firms to do business in the EU.

Featured Resources

Preparing for AI-enabled cyber attacks

MIT technology review insights

Download now

Cloud storage performance analysis

Storage performance and value of the IONOS cloud Compute Engine

Download now

The Forrester Wave: Top security analytics platforms

The 11 providers that matter most and how they stack up

Download now

Harness data to reinvent your organisation

Build a data strategy for the next wave of cloud innovation

Download now

Recommended

5 most secure smartphones
Mobile Phones

5 most secure smartphones

28 Jun 2021
How to reduce your online footprint
privacy

How to reduce your online footprint

7 Jun 2021
TikTok implies it’s collecting users' faceprints and voiceprints
privacy

TikTok implies it’s collecting users' faceprints and voiceprints

4 Jun 2021
Amazon’s Ring now requires police to request doorbell videos publicly
privacy

Amazon’s Ring now requires police to request doorbell videos publicly

3 Jun 2021

Most Popular

UK gov considers blocking Nvidia's takeover of Arm
Acquisition

UK gov considers blocking Nvidia's takeover of Arm

4 Aug 2021
RMIT to be first Australian university to implement AWS supercomputing facility
high-performance computing (HPC)

RMIT to be first Australian university to implement AWS supercomputing facility

28 Jul 2021
Preparing for AI-enabled cyber attacks
Whitepaper

Preparing for AI-enabled cyber attacks

22 Jul 2021