ADS has been monitoring the progress of the EU’s data adequacy assessment of the UK for some time. Previous blogs have set out what data adequacy is, why it’s important, what actions businesses should take to prepare for a non-negotiated outcome, and what the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement meant for personal data.

Throughout all stages of Brexit negotiations, the UK Government has been confident of securing adequacy status from the EU, given the UK’s high data standards and alignment with EU law for decades.

So, what’s happened?

Rumours circulated throughout the week that the EU was ready to award the UK adequacy status, and on Friday 19th February the EU Commission broke its silence on the matter. The Commission has found the UK’s data protection framework to be adequate, which is excellent news for the UK business community. The decisions ensure that personal data can continue to flow freely between the UK and EU.

Naturally, the UK Government is happy with this announcement and has reacted accordingly.

What the EU Commission said

Following a careful assessment of the UK’s law and practice on personal data protection, the Commission concluded that the UK ensures an essentially equivalent level of protection to the one guaranteed under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and, for the first time, under the Law Enforcement Directive (LED).

What happens next?

These decisions are draft decisions for the time being. Before they can be formalised, these decisions will need to be approved by the EU Council Article 93 Committee and the College of Commissioners, after an opinion has been issued by the European Data Protection Board. Colleagues in the UK Government do not expect this purely technical process to take long. In the meantime, the ‘bridging mechanism’ agreed alongside the Trade and Cooperation Agreement continues to be in effect.

Once these decisions have been formally adopted, they will be valid for a first period of four years.

Keeping up with Brexit

For information on all things Brexit, please visit the ADS Brexit Hub.

Get in touch with the team with any questions or issues to report by emailing our Brexit Reporting mailbox.