Data protection laws will not change following Brexit vote

Gavel and law book

Although the UK has voted to leave the EU, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said data protection laws will not change, despite being set by the European Union.

However, it stated that new data protection laws due to be introduced by the EU would not apply to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales if the UK leaves before they come into effect.

It explained that if the UK wants to trade with other countries in the EU, on equal terms, it would still have to provide 'adequacy', meaning any data protection standards we hold must be on par with those operating in the EU - specifically the GDPR.

"With so many businesses and services operating across borders, international consistency around data protection laws and rights is crucial both to businesses and organisations and to consumers and citizens. The ICO's role has always involved working closely with regulators in other countries, and that would continue to be the case.

"Having clear laws with safeguards in place is more important than ever given the growing digital economy, and we will be speaking to government to present our view that reform of the UK law remains necessary."

Before the result of the referendum was announced, the ICO's group manager for business and industry, Garreth Cameron, explained he did not think a vote to leave the EU would affect the UK's strong data protection laws, although the government would have to be held accountable to ensure they adequately protect any trade.

"The UK has a very long history of data protection laws," he told delegates at the Data Security in the Cloud conference. "So whatever happens, I think we will have strong data protection laws... How they work exactly is down to government, but we will need to have those in place."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.