The EU Commission plans to deem the U.K. an "adequate" third country, meaning data can continue to flow across borders despite its exit from the EU. The decision will allow for the continued transfer of data between the EU and U.K.
Under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies may transfer data outside of the EU only under certain conditions. The European Commission must deem the home country's data protection rules are comparable to that of the EU.
It's a critical development for companies that transfer data from the EU to the U.K. If lawmakers didn't reach an agreement, companies would have to use alternative data-transfer mechanisms that can be costly to implement. EU Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova said the U.K. had a leg up on countries outside of the European Economic Area with fundamentally different legal frameworks. The U.K. passed its Data Protection Act in 2018. That law implemented the GDPR into the U.K.'s legal system.
The European Data Protection Board will examine the commission's decision; however, it is expected to ultimately receive approval from Brussels. As part of the draft decision, the U.K.'s rules will be inspected every four years to ensure EU citizens' privacy rights are respected.