July 12, 2018

Brexit white paper: UK commits to extensive data sharing with EU

By Lucy Ingham

The UK plans to maintain extensive data sharing with the European Union, according to the Brexit white paper published today.

The paper indicates that although the UK will not remain in the EU’s Digital Single Market, it will prevent restrictions on the flow of data between the UK and EU, and remain involved in key technological initiatives. This includes the recently established European AI Alliance.

“Digital services trade between the UK and the EU will continue to be important, as both try to capitalise on the growth of digital technologies globally,” the government wrote in the Brexit white paper.

“While the UK will not be a part of the EU’s Digital Single Market, the UK wants to develop an ambitious policy on digital trade with the EU, as well as globally.”

The Brexit white paper was backed by the Cabinet at a meeting at Chequers on Friday, but caused outrage from hardline pro-Brexit MPs.

Protect “cross-border data flows”

The Brexit white paper highlighted the importance of sharing data with the EU, stressing that this would be protected following Brexit.

“The global digital economy is built on the ability to collect, share and process data. This underpins not just digital trade but all trade flows,” the government wrote.

“Any disruption in cross-border data flows would therefore be economically costly while unnecessary barriers, such as the unjustified localisation of data, could also have a serious impact on future prosperity.”

This will, the government says, ensure there are no barriers to the flow of data, while ensuring “that the internet is safe and open”. It will also ensure that electronic ID and authentication systems remain secure and supported between borders.

Digital infrastructure concerns outlined in the Brexit white paper

The Brexit white paper also indicated that the UK would continue to share cybersecurity intelligence, which the government said was to “adapt to evolving threats online or to digital infrastructure”.

Furthermore, the government proposed that the UK and EU commit to maintaining “fair equal and competitive access for UK and EU businesses” to telecommunications networks and services.

The government also cited the UK and EU’s history in this area, including in the reform of competition and the protection of net neutrality.

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