UK.gov: Snoop laws not 'significant' obstacle to EU data protection talks

Digi minister confident of adequacy decision post-Brexit

By Rebecca Hill

Posted in Policy, 31st October 2017 14:58 GMT

The UK's Snooper's Charter should not be a "significant" obstacle to data protection negotiations with the European Union, the government has said.

In a letter (PDF) to peers, digital minister Matthew Hancock reiterated that the UK was still aiming to gain an adequacy-plus model on data protection after the UK leaves the bloc.

Hancock was writing in response to the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee's report on post-Brexit data protection, which pushed the government to ensure the UK didn’t fall off a data "cliff edge".

The report also raised concerns that, once the UK leaves the EU, it will no longer benefit from the exemptions member states can use.

Specifically, national security legislation will be taken into account when an adequacy decision is made - meaning the UK’s controversial Investigatory Power’s Act will be scrutinised.

However, Hancock brushed this off, saying that the government "is confident that UK national security legislation should not present a significant obstacle to data protection negotiations".

He also used the opportunity to reiterate that the UK wanted an "enhanced mechanism" that goes beyond existing adequacy models for third countries.

The extras the UK wants - first outlined in a brief document published in August - include that the Information Commissioner’s Office would have an ongoing role in regulatory discussions.

When the peers' report was published, committee chairman Michael Jay acknowledged that this might not be straightforward – but again Hancock’s response was bullish.

He said that, "given the ICO's reputation", its continued participation would be "invaluable" to both sides.

Similarly, Hancock said that an early agreement to recognise each other's laws – another added extra the UK needs in order to prevent confusion on exit day – would be in the interests of both parties.

Hancock also pointed to the Data Protection Bill, which is making its way through parliament at the moment – having had its first Committee stage hearing last night – as evidence of the UK's commitment to putting EU laws on the UK books.

That debate saw peers drop a number of amendments that opponents argued would put the UK's push for an adequacy decision at risk - including a controversial proposal to exempt businesses with fewer than five employees from the finalised act. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

27 Comments

More from The Register

Cambridge Analytica seeks data protection assistant

Jobseeker? You may have heard of it...

UK.gov's Brexiteers warned not to push for divergence on data protection laws

As PM lacks specifics on UK’s desired ‘adequacy-plus’ deal

Uber hack: EU data protection bods launch taskforce

Justice commissioner slams biz for 'irresponsible' behaviour

Big tech wants the ICO on EU data protection board in Brexit fallout

Watchdog keeping voting rights 'huge gain' for marketing sector, say Facebook, Google et al

UK regulator moots data protection sandbox for organisations to play in

ICO strategy outlines plans to slurp up academic expertise

Austrian privacy chief handed leash to EU's data protection beast

Group warms up for greater powers once GDPR hits

Facebook smartmobe app's pre-ticked privacy settings violate German data protection law

Court favours consumer group in long-running dispute

Don't sweat Brexit, big biz told: Your shiny data protection sticker will remain intact

Survey reveals GDPR training and investment is on the rise

UK.gov told: Scrap immigration exemption from Data Protection Bill or we'll see you in court

Campaigners say proposed law would create a 'discriminatory' system for data access rights

Irish eyes are sighing: Data protection office notes olagoanin'* up 79%

Annual report reveals boost in complaints, breach notifications