Even though it was a shock to the system, the effects of Brexit are not yet visible throughout majority of industries. The sterling has dropped against the dollar and some property finance organisations have paused investments. Apart from that, it’s business as usual for most of us. And those who are invested in trade with EU, are waiting to see what kind of a deal UK’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Theresa May, will close with the Union.
So as everyone is looking closely at what kind of trade deals UK and EU will close, is anyone actually looking at what will happen to all of our data and what kind of laws citizens of UK will be protected by when it comes to their personal information being exploited by the Cloud giants like Facebook and Google?
Trade agreements between governments are notorious for taking up to a decade to complete. Even though the EU members and UK would like to start the divorce process as quick as possible, we can boldly assume the UK will end up with a deal similar to what Norway got.
When it comes to our data, as long as the UK is still part of the European Union, we’re protected by EU laws and safe guarded from the by the giants under the Safe Harbour succeeding successor agreement called Privacy Shield. As mentioned in the agreement, this new framework will come into force practice from this Summer. But after Theresa May triggers Article 50, what will happen then?
In a very unlikely scenario, the data giants will pack up their UK offices and move to an EU member state and the data policies that protect them and their customers remains the same.
A more likely scenario is that in the short term, UK will adopt new data protection laws which mirror EU laws and anyone operating in the kingdom will be bound to and protected by these regulations.
Lastly, UK is likely to agree to a deal which means even though it’s not a full member, it will be treated as a second-class member where it will have access to tariff-free trade with EU, and would have to agree, at least on an interim basis, to Free Movement for citizens of member states, and not to rock the boat and keep the giants happy, enjoy the EU’s data protection laws and the new Privacy Shield agreement with US.