Business groups call on government to secure data deal with EU

 
Helen Cahill
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Reports suggest May has already made an offer on the financial settlement (Source: Getty)

The financial services sector is calling on the government to forge an agreement with the EU which will allow for personal data to be protected when it is exchanged between countries.

UK Finance and techUK have authored a report on data sharing, and have recommended that in Brexit talks the two sides outline a mutual adequacy agreement, which will maintain standards of data protection and privacy for UK and EU citizens.

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The report also calls for transitional arrangements, which it says would give negotiators time to secure a satisfactory deal.

In addition, the UK should take additional measures to make sure it can alleviate any concerns the EU might have about its data protection systems, especially with regard to how the government processes data for security purposes.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: "It may not always be obvious, but every aspect of our economy as well as our everyday lives rely in some way or another on data.

"In its current form, the EU's interconnected regulatory environment facilitates millions of vital data exchanges every day.

"The UK and EU should implement transitional arrangements maintaining the status quo to give both sides time to agree how they will deliver high standards of data protection, allowing both communication and trade to flourish."

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Julian David, chief executive of techUK, said an agreement should be reached "as soon as possible".

"This isn’t solely for the benefit of one industry or one country but for the whole European economy as cross-border data flows become ever more important for trade and the ability to do businesses," he said.

The government published a paper on data protection earlier this year, one of a series of position papers it wrote to inform negotiations. The paper said that the UK's data protection rules will be aligned with the EU's after Brexit.

The paper also said new rules will be required "as part of the new, deep and special partnership" with the EU.

The paper read: "The UK wants to explore a UK-EU model for exchanging and protecting personal data, which could build on the existing adequacy model, by providing sufficient stability for businesses, public authorities and individuals, and enabling the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and partner EU regulators to maintain effective regulatory cooperation and dialogue for the benefit of those living and working in the UK and the EU after the UK’s withdrawal."

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