22/02/21 – On 19 February 2021 the European Commission published two adequacy decisions, one for transfers of personal data to the UK under the GDPR and the other under the Law Enforcement Directive. Although perhaps not surprising, this is still a positive step because it means the Commission has concluded that the UK does ensure an essentially equivalent level of protection to the one guaranteed under both the GDPR and the Law Enforcement Directive, including in relation to the rules for data access by public authorities.
What happens next?
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) will now review and provide its (non-binding) opinion on the draft decisions. Representatives of each EU member state will then be asked to approve the adequacy decisions (the so-called ‘comitology procedure’) before the decisions are adopted by the Commission. In the meantime data can continue to be transferred from the EEA to the UK under regime set out in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, as discussed in my article UK-EU data transfers from 1st January 2021 – where are we? If the draft adequacy decisions are adopted, they will be valid for four years, following which they will be renewed if the level of protection in the UK continues to be adequate.