General Data Protection Regulation ('GDPR') is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who live in the European Union. The Data Protection Act 2018 implemented the General Data Protection Regulation in the UK.
As a result of Brexit, the UK is no longer bound to follow EU regulations. On 1st January 2021, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement interim bridging mechanism for personal data came into force, which allows the continued free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK after the transition period and until adequacy decisions come into effect. The provision contains mechanisms to allow the UK to make changes to the data protection regime or transfer internationally subject to mutual agreement with the EU. The EU can no longer block changes to the UK's framework or use of powers, but if the EU objects to a change and the UK enacts it despite this then the bridge will end.
Government's Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden recently commented on the appointment of a new Information Commissioner as an opportunity to focus on the use of data for 'economic and social goals'. He argued that the current regime is ineffective, stating 'too many businesses and organisations are reluctant to use data – either because they don't understand the rules or are afraid of inadvertently breaking them'.
This hints that with the appointment of a new Information Commissioner in October, the UK may attempt to depart from current aspects of the GDPR. Some professionals are calling for the simplification of the rules to make compliance easier for small businesses, or potentially a campaign to educate and support UK businesses with GDPR compliance. Any changes may have a knock-on effect on the transmission of personal data to the EU, which will inevitably impact UK businesses.
If your business needs advice on GDPR compliance and you would like to discuss this further, our legal team is on hand to advise.
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*This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.