House of Lords: Brexit Could Crush Trade And Security If Data Transfer Is Hindered

The House of Lords has warned that greater friction around the transfer of data between the UK and the European Union after Brexit comes into effect could hamper trade and security.

The Lord’s EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee noted that if the government’s Brexit negotiation objectives are not achieved, then the UK could face a competitive disadvantage in terms of trade due to Brexit potentially presenting a non-tariff trade barrier

It also said the police could be hindered by loosing access to shared information and intelligence mechanisms facilitated through Europol and Eurojust.

Brexit means data uncertainty

The government wants to have an unhindered and uninterrupted flow of data between the UK and EU to facilitate trade and cooperative law enforcement, but both Britain and the EU need to have shared standards of data protection for this to work.

If the government does not secure this agreement, due to factors such as insisting on a hard border with Europe, something significant EU member states are not in support of, then sharing and transferring data could become a major problem and stymie both trade and law enforcement for Britain.

“The volume of data stored electronically and moving across borders has grown hugely over the last 20 years. Between 2005 and 2012 alone, internet traffic across borders increased 18-fold. The maintenance of unhindered data flows is therefore crucial, both for business and for effective police cooperation,” said Lord jay, chairman of the Committee.

“The Committee was concerned by the lack of detail on how the government plans to maintain unhindered data flows post-Brexit. It was concerned, too, by the risk that EU and UK data protection rules could diverge over time when the UK has left the EU.

“To avoid this, the Committee urges the government to secure a continuing role for the Information Commissioner’s Office on the European Data Protection Board.”

To avoid a detrimental data situation, the Committee recommends that the government secures an ‘adequate decision’ to confirm that the UK’s data protection standards tacks in parallel with that of the EU, rather than seek ineffective alternative methods of data transfer from the EU.

The Committee also highlighted that if no adequate agreement is met, the government currently has no fallback plans for ensuring the UK’s law enforcement would be able to share data with the EU, therefore throwing up hurdles to security cooperation with the EU post-Brexit.

While there are technology firms like Google that appear to be unconcerned about Brexit, it appears that the foundation for concerns over the data, tech and business problems Brexit throws up are certainly legitimate.

Why not test your knowledge of European tech pioneers and the EU’s contribution to the industry?Try our quiz!

Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

View Comments

  • This is arrant nonsense. Restriction of data transfer which threatens a nation's health and security should be legislated on as equivalent to a war crime. It is like declaring war but without guns and bombs. The Lords should take a leaf out of the Pope's book, stop finding probems but looking for solutions.

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