EDPB stresses the need to monitor the UK for adequacy

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) urges the European Commission to carefully monitor the UK adequacy decision, once granted. Speaking at the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee yesterday, EDPB Chair, Andrea Jelinek, said: "If the UK’s data protection regime would at some point in the future diverge from EU standards, we must be prepared to act accordingly."

Presenting the EDPB’s opinion on the UK’s draft adequacy decisions, Jelinek said that although the EU and UK’s points of view on data protection seem currently at an equivalent level, the EDPB is aware that this may not always be the case. She emphasised the possibility for the EU Commission to suspend the adequacy decision if necessary. In any case, a sunset clause is written into the draft decision, meaning that the adequacy decision expires after four years.

Jelinek raised the usual points of friction: onward transfers, the immigration exemption and mass surveillance. She said that the EDPB has asked the Commission to further analyse the situation regarding immigration and, if necessary in light of the ongoing appeal, update the adequacy decision.

With regard to onward transfers, Jelinek said that the restrictions will be further studied as the Board is mindful of any future UK adequacy decisions with third countries which might affect the protection of European Economic Area citizens' data if transferred via the UK. She also mentioned the UK-US Cloud Agreement, where the issue is transferring data between service providers rather than authorities.

Some MEPs pointed out that all these issues should be resolved now rather than have a wait and see approach. They also raised concerns about the EU Commission putting pressure on the EDPB, as reported by Politico. Jelinek denied these concerns saying that the draft decision had been adopted in a normal way. The Commission was included in the deliberations as they participate in the meetings of the Board.

See European Parliament - Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, 19 April 2021