PM highlights need for UK/EU data protection deal

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Prime minister Theresa May has highlighted the need for continued mutual support between the UK and EU in the area of data protection following Brexit.

Ms May stated that the "free flow of data" is "critical for both sides" in protecting institutions and organisations across the UK and EU from cyber threats.

The UK's future relationship with the EU continues to be a point of contention, but both parties agree that the sharing of information on cyber risk is important. That said, the complex negotiations that are currently taking place mean that many fundamental aspects of partnership in areas like cyber security remain up in the air.

Previous statements by the UK government have alluded to a future alignment of cyber security and data management standards with the EU to ensure all UK laws remain closely in line with the EU's incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In order to achieve this, the government had said that it will be looking to secure an adequacy ruling from the European Commission for the nation's cyber security efforts. However, the prime minister now believes that this relationship should go further.

"We will be seeking more than just an adequacy arrangement and want to see an appropriate ongoing role for the UK's Information Commissioner's Office," Ms May said.

"This will ensure UK businesses are effectively represented under the EU's new 'one stop shop' mechanism for resolving data protection disputes."

Responding to the prime minister's latest announcement, TechUK chief executive officer Julian David told Computer Weekly that developing close-knit relations in regard to data protection is the "right approach to support the UK's place as a leading tech economy".

He went on to add that the UK has some of the strongest data protection safeguards in the world at present; however, the creation of new mechanisms to ensure maximum access to the EU and other markets will be crucial to maintaining this position moving forward.