Brexit, British Government, Data transfers

The UK, Data Protection and #Brexit

Written August 9th 2017

gdpr-euroThis week, the UK government published details of its Data Protection Bill which will enshrine the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) into UK law (here).

The new legislation will become effective in May 2018, when the GDPR comes into force across Europe. The potential penalties for breaching the new data law are severe: up to 4% of global turnover or €20m, whichever is the greater. The EU recently hit Google with a fine of €2.4 billion over alleged market dominance abuse, so national data regulators won’t be shy of imposing big fines on companies that break the new laws.

Unfortunately, the documents published by the UK government with the announcement of the new Bill has precious little to say about Brexit and data flows. The only real reference reads:

“Unhindered flow of data, therefore, is essential to the UK forging its own path as an ambitious trading partner. That is why the government will be seeking to ensure that data flows between the UK and the EU, and also appropriately between the UK and third countries and international organisations, remain uninterrupted after the UK’s exit from the EU. Cooperation with the UK’s law enforcement and security partners, both in Europe and beyond, will also remain a priority.”

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Brexit, British Government, Brussels, Negotiating

We are no nearer to knowing the future of #Brexit

Written July 27th 2017.

downloadAnother week and we are no clearer as to what is going to happen. Last weekend the UK newspapers were filled with stories that the government had come to a consensus that a “transition” or “implementation” phase would be needed after March 2019, when the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union. The only disagreement between government ministers appears to be over the length of such a transition. Should it be two, three or four years?

But agreeing to a “transition” is a bit like agreeing to go on a “journey”. It says nothing about where you are starting from or where you are going to end up. After two rounds of negotiations between the EU and the UK we are no wiser as to how matters may unfold.

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Brexit, British Government, Data transfers

Data protection and #Brexit

Written on July 19th

gdpr-euroWriting about Brexit in the Observer last Sunday, 16 July, Gus O’Donnell, a former cabinet secretary and head of the UK civil service, said:

…we need to start being honest about the complexity of the challenge. We keep being told by our politicians that Brexit can be delivered easily. This isn’t correct. Believe me, we are embarking on a massive venture. There is no way all these changes will happen smoothly and absolutely no chance that all the details will be hammered out in 20 months… We will need a long transition phase, and the time needed does not diminish by pretending that this phase is just about “implementing” agreed policies as they will not all be agreed.

This is as accurate as it gets about the realities of Brexit. O’Donnell’s warning comes a day after the Financial Times published a piece which noted that:

UK industry leaders have ratcheted up the pressure on the UK government by warning that a breakdown of Brexit negotiations resulting in no deal would be “catastrophic” with “massive disruption” leading to a sharp contraction in output.

Industries as diverse as road haulage and orchestras are sounding the alarm and warning that threats of walking away without a deal raise the prospect of an extremely difficult outcome for Britain in March 2019.

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British Government, Negotiating

The Negotiating Game #Brexit

July 2017

By Tom Hayes & Robbie Gilbert:

negotiationSpeaking at a Brexit conference in Dublin on Monday, June 26 last, Catherine Day, a former secretary general of the European Commission and now a special adviser to Commission president, Jean- Claude Juncker, said that the UK’s position appeared to be: “we want everything we like and we don’t want anything we don’t like.” She continued:

“What we are seeing in the political negotiating team is people who don’t really understand how the EU works and are now just beginning to discover it very late in the day,”

Later that day, speaking at the Times CEO conference in London, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Davis, made some comments which appear to have confirmed Day’s diagnosis:

“We are seeking a new deep and special partnership with the European Union, underpinned by an ambitious and comprehensive agreement on free trade and customs. These will cover goods and services, and we want them to ensure the greatest possible tariff and barrier-free access to each other’s markets. Tariff and barrier free, both those things. To make sure such an agreement is properly enforced, we will seek a new dispute resolution mechanism. It won’t be the European Court of Justice, it will be international.”

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Brexit, British Government, Brussels, Juncker

Election Disappointment for Conservatives Complicates Brexit

Date: June 2017

EXITPOLLNever have the words of former UK prime minister, Harold Wilson, sounded so true: a week is a long time in politics. Last Monday, the current (for now) UK prime minister, Theresa May, was confident of returning to parliament this week after last Thursday’s general election with an increased majority, allowing her to remake the government in her own image. She expected to face a crushed and broken Labour Party across the aisle. Instead, she is the one who is crushed and broken, losing her previously slim, but workable, majority in the House of Commons, leaving her dependent on the votes of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland. How long this political arrangement will last is anyone’s guess.

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