Online only: updated 19/02/21

Data protection: no change from the EU-UK agreement

The EU presents all the agreement drafts

A trustworthy source for the agreement draft

AS FAR AS the Freelance can tell, the EU-UK agreement doesn't make any changes to what journalists need to do to comply with data protection laws - yet.

It leaves until later a decision by the EU Commission on the "adequacy" of the UK's data protection régime (and vice versa). This decision will determine whether EU nationals' data may be stored in the UK (and vice versa).

It seems to us that the UK government's decision to replicate the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the Data Protection Act 2018 means it will not be hard in principle for the Commission to find the law "adequate". It may have questions about the backbone and grit of the UK's Information Commissioner.

At least until that decision is reached, or a UK government gets stupid amendments to the Act passed, nothing changes with regard to data protection in the UK.

Even if the UK régime is not found adequate, it is very possible that the exceptions in the GDPR relating to data held for the purposes of journalism will continue to apply to data held in the UK.

19 February 2021

Today the European Commission issued a draft of its finding on the question of whether the UK's data protection régime is "adequate" to allow transfer of data from the EU to the UK. Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: "Ensuring free and safe flow of personal data is crucial for businesses and citizens on both sides of the Channel. The UK has left the EU, but not the European privacy family."

So the signs are good, if slightly sarcastic. Now we await the reaction of the European Data Protection Board to the draft and the decisions of the member states and the Commission on the result.