EU-U.K. Deal Clears Way for Free Flow of Data Across Channel

The European Union gave its formal blessing to a decision guaranteeing the free flow of data between the bloc and the U.K.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, on Monday adopted so-called adequacy decisions that will allow companies to ship data between the EU and its former member state without fears of violating the bloc’s strict privacy rules.

“This is a very big deal for any businesses operating in the U.K., as it avoids complications that could have interfered with data flows from the EU to the U.K.,” said Rafi Azim-Khan, a data-protection lawyer at Pillsbury in London.

As the EU and U.K. were still locked in talks in December over the final details of a historical post-Brexit trade deal, EU officials found a six-month interim solution to guarantee the free flow of data until the adequacy decisions were completed.

To address concerns the U.K. could in future move away from the EU’s robust privacy protection rules, the commission added a so-called sunset clause, which leads to a review of the data transfer accord every four years.

“We have listened very carefully to the concerns” expressed by the European Parliament ``in particular on the possibility of future divergence from our standards in the U.K.’s privacy framework,” said Vera Jourova, a commission vice-president who played a key role in the establishment of the privacy rules, known by their acronym GDPR.

“We have significant safeguards and if anything changes on the U.K. side, we will intervene.”

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