UK government wants EU to acquiesce with its data safeguards even as Brexit looms

This government white paper is aiming to convince the European Union that it is mutually beneficial to agree on the UK’s data protection proposals.

A special agreement on personal data sharing and protection has been proposed by the UK government, claiming that it is in the best interests of the EU member states to agree to it.

The governments approach to Brexit has been outlined in this latest white paper and has caused quite a stir in the House of Commons.

Both the foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit secretary David Davis resigned over the white paper calling it a “soft” version of Brexit.

The whitepaper containing the terms of Brexit has been stressed by the Prime Minister Theresa May to be equally beneficial to the UK and the EU.

“The proposal set out in this White Paper would honour the result of the referendum. It would deliver a principled and practical Brexit that is in our national interest, and the UK’s and the EU’s mutual interest,” she wrote.

The recently released document asks the EU to maintain cooperation on data protection by continuing to exchange and protect personal data.

The paper states that the UK is a “global leader in strong data protection standards and that as a member of the EU, the UK worked closely with other member states and institutions to develop robust protections for personal data, ensuring businesses and law enforcement agencies can share data safely and smoothly.”

The paper stated that the government wants to go further with stability, transparency and on regulatory cooperation than the EU’s adequacy framework but called it “the right starting point”.

The white paper says the Data Protection Act 2018 shows the UK keeps up with the EU’s legislation including the recent General Data Protection Regulation. It goes on to state that the free flow of data between the two authorities can be achieved as the UK is ready to begin preliminary discussions.

Trying to ram the point home, the Information Commissioner’s Office is cited as further evidence the proposal is beneficial to the EU: “The ICO is an internationally respected, influential and well-resourced regulator in this regard. As a result, the future UK-EU arrangements for data protection should provide for ongoing cooperation between the ICO and EU data protection authorities.”

Michel Barnier the EU’s chief negotiator said the UK would be considered a third party when he previously spoke on the subject of an agreement between the UK and EU.

“It is the United Kingdom that is leaving the European Union. It cannot, on leaving, ask us to change who we are and how we work,” said Barnier, adding: “The United Kingdom wants to leave. That is its decision. Not ours. And that has consequences.”


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