The smooth transfer of personal data between the European Union and the U.K. — from bank details to your Uber bill — is vital for almost every British business. A no-deal Brexit threatens to disrupt that relationship and leave companies at risk of fines and lawsuits for breaching the EU’s strict data protection rules.
The EU has established a fundamental right to privacy, including the protection of personal data and the “right to be forgotten” from search engines. It offers “adequacy agreements” to countries that conform to these rules, so that their data can be transferred across borders. Some countries, like New Zealand and Argentina, have been deemed as providing fully adequate data protection; the U.S. is only partially adequate and has a separate agreement with the EU. As long as it’s an EU member, the U.K. doesn’t have to prove its adequacy. But that’s about to change.