Tim Stevens
Thursday, August 19, 2021

Data Protection: UK Adequacy Decisions Are Made in Europe

After Brexit the UK wanted to secure an adequacy decision from the EU to enable companies to send personal data between the UK and the EU without additional protections.

In February the European Commission published two draft adequacy decisions relating to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Law Enforcement Directive (LED). The Commission then spent the next four months on the procedure to adopt them.

segmentation targeting data

In simple terms, an adequacy is a formal decision made by the EU which deems that another country, territory or organisation has an equivalent level of data protection for personal data as itself.

On the 28th of June the European Commission adopted the two adequacy decisions meaning that you will be able to continue to send personal data between the UK and the EU without having to meet any additional regulations.

What else do I need to know?

So, it’s good news that data can now flow freely between the EU and the UK but it’s worth noting that the adequacy decisions both include strong safeguards to protect the EU should there be any ‘future divergence’ post-Brexit. As such the Commission has limited the duration of adequacy to four years. The situation could change again in the future.

Věra Jourová, vice-president for values and transparency at the European Commission, commented:

“The UK has left the EU but today its legal regime of protecting personal data is as it was. Because of this, we are adopting these adequacy decisions today. At the same time, we have listened very carefully to the concerns expressed by the Parliament, the Members States and the European Data Protection Board, in particular on the possibility of future divergence from our standards in the UK's privacy framework. We are talking here about a fundamental right of EU citizens that we have a duty to protect. This is why we have significant safeguards and if anything changes on the UK side, we will intervene”.

(Source: European Commission)

Of course, a key point you also need to recognise is that all your UK and European data needs to be compliant with all the necessary regulations. These adequacy decisions are in place as the EU recognises that the UK has an equivalent level of protection to that guaranteed under EU law.

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