techUK urges govt to develop legal basis for data transfer before Brexit

techUK urges govt to develop legal basis for data transfer before Brexit [Image: AndrewLinscott via iStock]

UK technology association techUK has published a new report commissioned from Frontier Economics alongside a set of key requests for the government to prioritise in its upcoming European Union (EU) exit negotiations.

The report, ‘The UK Digital Sectors After Brexit’, explains that the UK’s successful tech sector is highly integrated with European markets and dependent upon legal and regulatory frameworks established at EU level over many decades.

According to techUK, it is vital that the UK achieves a “smooth exit from the EU that lays the groundwork for the government’s ambitions for a new Global Britain”. To achieve that ambition, techUK has laid out its top priorities for the government for EU exit negotiations.

Jacqueline de Rojas, president of techUK and managing director of UK and Ireland – Northern Europe at Sage, said: “There is no sector more dynamic, more innovative, more resilient than tech, but that doesn’t make it immune to Brexit.

“As this report makes clear, there are real risks that need to be understood and addressed. The UK’s thriving tech sector can come through this process and go on to power the vision of Global Britain.”

The report details three areas where the digital economy is most at risk from the impact of Brexit: market access and digital trade, access to skills and the free flow of data.

One of techUK’s priorities for the government is to ensure that there is a robust legal process in place for cross-border data transfers. The association said that the UK is a global leader in cross-border data transfers, accounting for 11.5 per cent, with three-quarters are between UK and EU countries.

techUK explained that when the UK leaves the single market, there must be a clear legal basis to underpin cross-border data transfers between the UK and the EU. It said that the best way of achieving his would be a data adequacy decision by the EU.

The association urged the government to develop a “watertight strategy to ensure that the UK is in the best possible shape to be recognised as having an adequate data protection regime”.