Britain must abide by EU data protection rules after Brexit, says European Commission

It has been two years since Europe brought in the rules on GDPR
It has been two years since Europe brought in the rules on GDPR Copyright Virginia Mayo/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Copyright Virginia Mayo/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
By Orlando Crowcroft
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Boris Johnson has said that the UK will forge its own path on data protection after Brexit. The European Commission doesn't agree.


Britain will be expected to apply European regulations on data protection as part of any post-Brexit deal with Europe, European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the launch of a review into the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Reynders said: "When it comes to transfer with a member that is leaving us - the United Kingdom - we want to make sure that in any Brexit agreement there is the proper application of the rules of the GDPR."

It comes just a few months after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a written statement to the House of Commons that the UK would "develop separate and independent policies" in the area of data protection, as well as on borders, competition and subsidies.

Reynders said that while GDPR had been a success in the two years since it was introduced, work still needed to be done to ensure that it was "applied harmoniously or at least with the same vigour across the European territory." Critics of the regulations still needed to be won over, he added.

"We also have to convince those who may still be reticent towards GDPR. We need to explain what the requirements are and how they can implement these."

Earlier in the press conference in Brussels, Věra Jourová, the European Commissions vice-president for values and transparency, said that GDPR "had become a European trademark".

She said it had allowed the bloc to avoid the free-market approach to data forged by the United States and the tight-control exercised in China.

"Three years ago there was panic about GDPR [...] that it would be the end of the world," she said."It didn't happen. On the contrary [it has] given people control over their data."

In a report published Wednesday, the European Commission said that in the two years since its introduction, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) had "met most of its objectives".

The report claimed that two years since GDPR, a total of 69% of Europeans over the age of 16 are aware of the new rules, and 70% are aware of their local data protection authorities.

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