Data Privacy and GDPR: What Does Brexit Mean for the UK?

Less than two years since its introduction, GDPR is still fresh in everyone’s mind when it comes to data privacy as compliance has so far proven difficult to achieve, with some of the world’s largest companies getting hit with fines in the millions.

What the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations has managed to achieve so far though is to make the issue of data privacy the main talking point for both businesses and consumers, as people are now far more cautious about the data they choose to share, and how this is going to be used once they do.

If GDPR compliance wasn’t already an issue, it has now been further complicated by the uncertainty of Brexit and where this will leave UK businesses as it is not yet clear how the EU regulations will affect the country following our exit.

No Deal Brexit: How Businesses Must Prepare

As it stands, we can’t yet rule out a no-deal Brexit, so organisations all sizes must start making preparations for it if they haven’t already done so. According to guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office, if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, the majority of the data protection rules which currently apply to organisations will remain in effect.

Any UK businesses who are fully GDPR compliant and have no affairs to conduct or customers outside of the European Economic Area will be pleased to hear that even a no-deal Brexit won’t have much of an effect on them in terms of how they handle and store data.

However, organisations and businesses in the UK that do have customers outside of the EEA, will have to take extra steps to ensure compliance following Brexit. The matter will be even more complicated for large organisations who have a presence elsewhere in the EEA as they will need to ensure that they are compliant with both UK and EU data protection regulations following Brexit.

The Future of Data Protection Regulations in the UK

One possible outcome for the future of data protection in the UK following the country’s exit from the EU is the Data Protection Brexit Regulations. If passed in into law, these regulations would ensure that the current Data Protection Act would still be in effect following Brexit.

Once the UK has left the EU, either with or without a deal, it will have separate regulations, known as UK GDPR. The Secretary of the State, Dominic Raab, will then have the same power that the European Commission currently has to make adequacy decisions. This will allow the UK to determine which countries and international organisations data can be shared with if they meet the necessary requirements for data protection, mirroring the current process in place when assessing the transfer of personal data outside of the EEA.

Continued GDPR Compliance Unlike to Change

Although Brexit will bring about many changes for the UK, data privacy is unlikely to look dramatically different, even after the country leaves the European Union. This means that businesses and organisations will have to continue their efforts to ensure that private data is stored and shared in the safest way possible. And, as cyber-attacks continue to become progressively sophisticated each year, it means investing in the latest technologies to ensure GDPR compliance.

Platforms like Gospel Technology’s Distributed Ledger Technology platform is one emerging solution that can help businesses share their most sensitive data (such as Personally Identifiable Information) in the most secure way possible, as it makes it impossible for it to be accessed without the correct permissions. The platform can also be used to help organisations comply with GDPR regulations as the Gospel Data Platform creates an indisputable audit log of every action performed on the data including whether this is read, has been tried to be read but rejected, or simply if an actor has updated the data – ie all actions are written to the private distributed ledger, forever.

Written By: John Scudd

One of the Editors for Tech on the Go, I love covering mobile tech and social media. I also manage the reviews we cover so all the writers stay on my good side!