EU referendum - PwC comments on data protection

Published at 08:21 AM on 24 June 2016

Stewart Room, PwC partner and head of PwC Legal's data privacy and protection practice, commented: 

“Despite the leave vote, it is vitally important that the controllers and processors of personal data do not fall into the trap of thinking that the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR ) no longer matters to them. Compliance with the standards of EU data protection law will be a "red line" requirement for the UK's continuing access to the single market.  

“Therefore, it is almost inevitable that the UK will pass legislation to give effect to the GDPR. Failure to do so will not only lock out the UK from the single market, but it will effectively prevent any form of business with the EU where personal data is involved. That would be a disaster for multi nationals that operate in both the EU and the UK. It would also mean UK citizens would not enjoy privacy protections and civil liberties equivalent to those on the continent. 

“Any organisation based in the UK that wants to engage with the EU, whether or not as part of the single market, needs to continue with their preparations for the GDPR. If the UK is still a part of the EU in May 2018, the new law will apply automatically, exposing non-compliant organisations to a risk of staggeringly high regulatory fines for non-compliance, as well as new forms of litigation risk.”  


Notes to editor 

In May 2018 the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect. This law, which was adopted earlier this year with the UK's consent and approval, has been designed to improve the legal protections for EU personal data and to strengthen the enforcement powers of the privacy regulators. It is meant to replace the national data protection laws currently in force in the EU Members States, such as the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (the DPA), which are no longer fit for purpose. By agreeing to the GDPR, the UK has accepted that the DPA has to go. 


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