EU GDPR data security concept

UK plans to revamp post-Brexit data rules with ‘lighter touch’ approach to privacy

Image credit: Christof Prenninger/Dreamstime

The Government has announced its intentions to revamp the UK’s data laws as it tries to reinvigorate a trading sector has been severely impacted by Brexit.

According to The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), it is estimated that there is as much as £11bn worth of trade that goes unrealised around the world due to barriers associated with data transfers.

A new set of data rules would see the UK diverge from some parts of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into effect three years ago.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the UK wanted to shape data laws that were based on “common sense, not box-ticking”.

The Government will prioritise striking ‘data adequacy’ partnerships with the US, Australia, the South Korea, Singapore, Dubai and Colombia and also confirmed that future partnerships with India, Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia are being prioritised.

It said it would ensure that “high data protection standards are maintained” in order to build on the £80bn of data-enabled service exports to these 10 destinations from the UK every year.

The plans should make it easier for UK organisations to exchange data with other countries, which the Government believes will drive economic growth.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Now that we have left the EU I’m determined to seize the opportunity by developing a world-leading data policy that will deliver a Brexit dividend for individuals and businesses across the UK.

“That means seeking exciting new international data partnerships with some of the world’s fastest growing economies, for the benefit of British firms and British customers alike.”

Dowden’s upbeat assessment of the scenario follows statistics in May that showed the UK’s trade in goods with EU countries fell by 23 per cent in the first quarter of this year, largely due to Brexit-related disruption.

While figures have improved over the summer, businesses are still facing additional red tape when dealing with European customers.

In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, Dowden criticised the GDPR for incorporating too much “needless bureaucracy” and hinted that future privacy regulations would take as “light a touch way as possible” compared to the EU’s approach.

The Government has also named New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards as its preferred candidate to be the UK’s next Information Commissioner.

He will be empowered to go beyond the regulator’s traditional role of focusing only on protecting data rights and will be tasked with taking a “balanced approach” that promotes economic growth.

“There is a great opportunity to build on the wonderful work already done and I look forward to the challenge of steering the organisation and the British economy into a position of international leadership in the safe and trusted use of data for the benefit of all,” he said.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles