Post-Brexit Data Transfers Are Not a Done Deal

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Series Details Number 137
Publication Date April/May 2021
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he real threat to the EU’s attempts to establish global data protection norms and protect its citizens’ privacy is not the UK, or even the US, but digital-authoritarian China. The EU should prioritise reaching a common understanding with the UK, the US and other like-minded countries – perhaps by opening up the membership of its proposed EU-US Trade and Technology Council.  And if legal challenges continue to make it hard for non-EU businesses and law enforcement agencies to share data with the EU, the bloc should contemplate alternative routes instead. The EU could consider offering to sign all-encompassing data treaties with close partners that include judicial redress and co-ordinated review clauses, to avoid the problems raised by the Schrems rulings. The 2016 EU-US Umbrella Agreement on law enforcement data transfers could be a good model to follow, as it is an overarching treaty that has, for now, escaped legal challenges. Despite the present acrimony, data sharing between the EU and UK remains vital for the trade and security of both.

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ESO Records
House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: July 2017: Brexit: the EU data protection package
EPRS: In-Depth Analysis: April 2021: EU-UK private-sector data flows after Brexit: Settling on adequacy

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