Protect your data in light of the new EU programme of changes

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What's changed?

The UK is hoping to become a ‘favoured nation’ via an ‘adequacy decision’ on behalf of the EU, which should facilitate the free transfer of personal data without the need to implement additional safeguards.

There is currently a 6 month bridge until the end of June 2021 that allows the continued free flow of information.

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What do I need to know?

Many different types of businesses keep records of people’s data, which can be transferred from the UK to other countries and vice versa. Now we're in a new regime with the EU, You may be worried about whether you will still be able to send information to other countries or receive data in turn.

If you receive personal data from the EU for business use, you should check the current guidance on using personal data in your business or organisation.

What's the buzz about data?

Personal data is any information that can be used to identify a living person, including names, delivery details, IP addresses, or HR data such as payroll details. You'll use personal data in your daily operations. For example, a UK company that receives customer information from an EU company, such as names and addresses, to provide goods or services. 


What has my business data got to do with the new EU regime?

The European Commission announced a draft decision to recognise the UK’s high data protection standards. This would allow for personal data to continue to flow freely from the EU and wider European Economic Area (EEA) to the UK.

Whilst there are currently no changes to the way UK businesses send personal data to the EU, EEA, Gibraltar and other countries deemed 'adequate' by the EU, you need to be prepared to take action on your data protection once that bridging mechanism ends on 30 June 20201. And as a precaution, before and during the bridging mechanism, please consider putting in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.

If you store, share and use data, both personal and other, in the EU, or have data relating to EU nationals, then you will have exposure to this issue.


What exactly do I need to do?

  1. If you hold a .eu domain, check if you need to replace it
  2. If you provide online services to countries in the EEA, check if rules in those countries now apply
  3. If your business is a Digital Service Provider to the EU/European Economic Area, make sure you comply with the Network and Information Systems Regulations and associated EU Directive. More guidance.

Does this affect GDPR?

No it doesn't.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been retained in UK law and will continue to be read alongside the Data Protection Act 2018, with technical amendments to ensure it can function in UK law. The Information Commissioner remains the UK’s independent supervisory authority on data protection. 


This is the first time the EU has agreed text on data in a free trade agreement.

The text helps to facilitate the cross-border flow of data by prohibiting requirements to store or process data in a specific location. This prevents the imposition of costly requirements for British businesses. The agreement confirms strong data protection commitments by both the UK and the EU, protecting consumers, helping to promote trust in the digital economy, and continuing to uphold the UK’s high data protection standards.


Rules relating to online activities in the EU may newly apply to your online service/s.

You should consider whether the online services you provide are currently in scope and ensure that you are compliant with relevant requirements in each EU country you operate in.

The rules that you may need to start following covers legal requirements that apply to information society services, for example, rules relating to online information, online advertising, online shopping, online contracting.


Be reassured that trading across borders is easy and inexpensive with the guarantee that both sides will accept electronic signatures and electronic documents, as well as ensuring that contracts can be done digitally.

This will minimise the need for costly paper copies, help companies to streamline their international trade processes, and reduce burdens and complexity for the average business.