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The Week Ahead Europe: Focus on data privacy impact as Brexit deadline nears


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The Week Ahead Europe: Focus on data privacy impact as Brexit deadline nears

As the U.K. decides this week whether to extend the Brexit deadline to April 12 or May 22, as conditionally permitted by the EU, the implications of its exit on data privacy should become clearer.

Prime Minister Theresa May was offered a delay to Brexit until May 22 if members of Parliament pass her withdrawal agreement in a third vote in the House of Commons. However, if MPs vote down the agreement again, the EU has said Britain has until April 12 to set out its next steps or face leaving without a deal. Without a change in the law, the U.K. is still set to leave the bloc at 11 p.m. local time March 29.

Standards for the protection of consumer data have been harmonized across Europe by the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.

The European Data Protection Board has previously issued guidance on which rules would govern the transfer of data to the U.K. in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Advice from the French data privacy regulator CNIL followed.

The EDPB suggested a five-step plan for organizations transferring data to the U.K. to prepare for a no-deal scenario, including deciding which transfer instrument will be used and updating their privacy notice to inform individuals. One such instrument is including "standard and ad hoc data protection clauses" in contracts.

Even if a deal is reached, it could be some time before businesses get complete clarity on data protection rules. Europe's data protection supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, told the Financial Times (London) in February that it could be "years" before the U.K reaches an agreement with the EU on the issue.

Separately, a decision on the timing of Brexit should allow the U.K's Competition and Markets Authority to progress its investigation into Facebook Inc. U.K. parliamentary committees have asked the CMA to probe the company's use of personal data in advertising. CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said it was looking at how it can work with the EU on any investigation before proceeding, according to a Reuters report.

Meanwhile, TV networks have been preparing themselves for a no-deal by applying for licenses in European countries that are not the U.K. AMC Networks International, for example, looked at acquiring a license in Madrid, Spain, to ensure that it could continue distributing its channels across Europe, Broadband TV News reported.

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March 26

The European Parliament will debate and vote on a provisional agreement on copyright rules for the internet. It is part of the EU's wider efforts to modernize copyright law so it is "fit for the digital age."

March 26 The EP will vote on rules for the online sale of goods. The new legislation is aimed at better protecting consumers who download music, apps, games or purchase cloud services.
March 29 The U.K. is due to exit the European Union on Friday. However, this could be pushed back to April 12 or May 22.
Industry events:
March 27

The European Economic and Social Committee will host European Consumer Day 2019 in Brussels. The event will focus on the role of technology, particularly that of social media, in driving consumption patterns.

March 28

The European Venture Debt Summit in Luxembourg will bring together investment portfolio companies, financial advisers, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. The bank's venture debt financing product is aimed at early-stage, highly innovative European companies.

Stories of note:

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