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The Week Ahead Europe: No-deal Brexit could shake up data privacy outlook


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The Week Ahead Europe: No-deal Brexit could shake up data privacy outlook

Uncertainty lies ahead for companies' data privacy requirements in the U.K. as politicians prepare to vote on a Brexit deal this week.

The vote will reportedly take place on Jan. 15 in the House of Commons. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to warn in a Jan. 14 speech that parliament is more like to prevent Brexit than let the country leave without a deal.

Britain's government has said that a no-deal Brexit scenario, whereby Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019 without an agreement in place, could require companies to draw up new legal frameworks for personal data transfers between organizations in the U.K. and the European Union.

When it comes to the free flow of personal data outside the EU, the European Commission is responsible for granting permission to countries outside the 28-member block on the basis of their national ability to protect data. U.S. businesses such as Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp., for instance, are among 3,850 organizations certified under a transatlantic framework known as EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.

The U.K., however, has not yet been assessed on its adequacy to protect data.

"While we have made it clear we are ready to begin preliminary discussions on an adequacy assessment now, the European Commission has not yet indicated a timetable for this and have stated that the decision on adequacy cannot be taken until we are a third country," the U.K. government said.

Companies and organizations in the U.K. will, however, need to continue to comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, which will be incorporated into British law alongside the U.K.'s Data Protection Act 2018 after Brexit.

Enacted in May 2018, GDPR requires organizations to gain consent from all online users before collecting data. They must also notify data protection authorities within 72 hours of becoming aware of a breach. The measures threaten steep financial penalties for those who fail to comply.

SNL Image
Jan. 16

The European parliament will debate key issues concerning the U.K.'s withdrawal from the EU, a day after the U.K. House of Commons' Jan. 15 vote on Theresa May's deal.

United Kingdom:
Jan. 14

Deadline for written evidence requested by the U.K.'s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee for its newly launched inquiry in the development of immersive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality. The committee is seeking written submissions on topics, including tackling digital and gaming addiction, data security and the link between gaming and gambling.

Jan. 15

Members of Parliament in the House of Commons are expected to vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal after a vote was called off last month.

Jan. 17 Germany's parliament will discuss a proposal brought forward by the German far-right party Alternative für Deutschland to extend the scope of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation to bloggers, photographers and public relations workers.
Industry events:
Jan. 14-15

The Kickstart Europe Conference, an annual event about tech and digital infrastructure trends and investment, will take place in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Jan. 15 Event organizer Westminster Forum Projects will host the Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar in London focusing on the future of the U.K. TV sector in the global market.

Stories of note:

European 5G roadmap slowed by market fragmentation, industry skepticism

EU court adviser backs Google in 'right to be forgotten' case

Google facing antitrust investigation in Turkey

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