On September 13, 2018, the UK government published a series of technical notices on how to prepare for a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without agreement on March 29, 2019 (“no-deal Brexit”). The government stressed that a no-deal Brexit “remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome,” but that “it’s our duty as a responsible government to prepare for all eventualities.” One of the notices, “Data protection if there’s no Brexit deal,” sets out the UK government’s position on data flows between the UK and EU and recommends actions that organizations should take to help ensure the continued flow of personal data from the EU to the UK if no agreement is reached.
Data privacy standards in the UK to remain the same
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the technical notice is clear that the UK will maintain the same data protection standards as exist today. This is because the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) currently applies in the UK (as it remains, for now, an EU Member State), and, at the point of a no-deal Brexit, the UK would incorporate the GDPR into UK law. The GDPR rules — now and following Brexit — are supplemented by the UK Data Protection Act 2018, which sets out how certain aspects of the GDPR apply in the UK (e.g., in relation to children’s data).
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